Trump tells NK's Kim to denuclearize or risk overthrow


President Donald Trump laid out a stark choice for North Korea's Kim Jong Un ahead of their planned summit next month: Abandon nuclear weapons and be rewarded with "protections," or risk being overthrown and possible death if the arsenal remains.

Trump maintained the scheduled June 12 meeting in Singapore is on track, despite the North's threat Wednesday to cancel over concerns about the U.S. push to see the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

The North has argued it needs its nuclear weapons to preserve its security, and has expressed concerns about giving up its nuclear program. The North cites the example of former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who died at the hands of rebel forces amid a popular uprising in October 2011; he had given up his nuclear program in the 2000s.

National Security Adviser John Bolton explicitly cited "the Libya model of 2003-2004" as a basis for the North Korea talks last month, which drew personal rebuke from the North Korean government Wednesday.

Trying to address the North Korean concerns, the president said if Kim were to agree to denuclearize, "he'll get protections that would be very strong."

But Trump warned that failure to make a deal could have grave consequences for Kim. Mentioning what happened in Libya, Trump said, "That model would take place if we don't make a deal."

"The Libyan model isn't the model we have at all. In Libya we decimated that country." Trump added. "There was no deal to keep Gadhafi."

Trump said he is "willing to do a lot" to provide security guarantees to Kim. "The best thing he could do is make a deal."

Trump also suggested China was influencing North Korea's thinking regarding the summit, pointing to Kim's visit to China immediately before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang last week to finalize the summit date and location.

Trump said Thursday that nothing has changed with respect to North Korea after the warning from Pyongyang. He said North Korean officials are discussing logistical details about the meeting with the U.S. "as if nothing happened."

In addition to threatening to pull out of the meeting with Trump, the North abruptly canceled a planned meeting with South Korean officials over joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday that the schedule of military exercises hasn't changed. She added the annual exercises are long-planned, defensive in nature and meant to ensure the readiness of U.S. and South Korean forces.

Exercise Max Thunder began Monday and concludes May 25. It includes aircraft from across the U.S. military services. Last year's exercise included roughly 1,200 U.S. personnel and about 640 South Koreans. This year's drill is similar.

Speaking at an Oval Office meeting with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Trump also said he will not discuss U.S. troop levels in South Korea during his meeting with Kim.

The North has said it won't return to talks with Seoul due to the exercises.

___

Associated Press writer Ken Thomas contributed to this report.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in National

Late GOP rally could save Republican House seat in Utah
Late GOP rally could save Republican House seat in Utah

Over a week after being publicly ridiculed for losing her seat in Congress by President Donald Trump, Rep. Mia Love (R-UT) on Friday night was on the verge of pulling off a stunning comeback in her re-election bid, as the continued counting of ballots in her Utah district finally pushed her into the lead by a slender 419 votes...
After Acosta ruling, Trump says press will face new rules on behavior
After Acosta ruling, Trump says press will face new rules on behavior

Hours after a federal judge ordered the White House to reinstate the press pass of CNN reporter Jim Acosta, President Donald Trump said new rules would be put in place at the White House governing the behavior of reporters, and if those rules are violated, then that would be grounds to pull the press pass of the offending reporter...
Democrats head home with Pelosi’s future unclear in House
Democrats head home with Pelosi’s future unclear in House

While allies of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi pressed hard this week to put her on the way to become the next Speaker of the House, a small group of Democratic holdouts is threatening to block her from getting to 218 votes on the floor in January, leaving Democrats uncertain about their leadership. “I’m concerned...
Democrats continue 2018 election gains in House
Democrats continue 2018 election gains in House

In what has almost been a daily event since Election Day last week, Democrats won another GOP seat in the House on Thursday, as a new form of runoff election in Maine knocked off a Republican incumbent, increasing the gains of Democrats to 35 seats, with seven GOP seats still undecided. In Maine, Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) had...
Jamie Dupree: “I will never, ever give up”
Jamie Dupree: “I will never, ever give up”

Normally, I’m not a loss for words. Whether it’s on the radio, on Twitter, or on my blog, I churn out copy at all hours of the day and night. But as I sit here at my dinner table (still clad in my tuxedo) after arriving home from an awards ceremony with hundreds of my reporting colleagues in Washington, I honestly don&rsquo...
More Stories