- Vice President Mike Pence reignited concern over US-North Korean relations on Monday, after threatening that North Korea could end up like Libya if it doesn’t play ball with the US.
- “There was some talk about the Libyan model last week,” Pence said in an interview on Fox News. “As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
- Trump’s interpretation of the so-called “Libya model,” which appears to differ from national security adviser John Bolton’s remarks, was already muddled in confusion.
- Pence’s remark added to that confusion.
Vice President Mike Pence reignited concern over US-North Korean relations on Monday, after threatening that North Korea could end up like Libya if it doesn’t play ball with the US.
“There was some talk about the Libyan model last week,” Pence said in an interview on Fox News. “As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
Pence referred to the controversy surrounding comments national security adviser John Bolton made in recent weeks, and remarks President Donald Trump made last week.
During an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Bolton said that if the Trump administration were to make concessions, it would be “looking at the Libya model of 2003, 2004” in terms of North Korea being required to surrender its nuclear weapons.
In the interview, Bolton said that similar to the US’s previous stance on Libya, it would need to verify that North Korea’s denuclearization efforts were “real and not just rhetoric.”
“But one thing that Libya did that led us to overcome our scepticism was that they allowed American and British observers into all their nuclear related sites,” Bolton said. “So it wasn’t a question of relying on international mechanisms. We saw them in ways we had never seen before.”
North Korea’s propaganda outlets condemned Bolton’s remarks, which also cast uncertainty on the future of the upcoming summit between Trump and Kim.
“World knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq which have met miserable fate,” North Korea’s vice minister reportedly wrote. “It is absolutely absurd to dare compare [North Korea], a nuclear weapon state, to Libya which had been at the initial stage of nuclear development.”
Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi voluntarily gave up his country’s nuclear weapons program in 2003. Eight years later, rebel forces killed him violently, and his demise was on full display for the world to see. That’s a possibility that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has likely taken into account in his country’s plans to work toward denuclearization.
Trump addressed North Korea’s abrupt shift on Thursday, saying that “the Libya model isn’t the model that we have at all when we’re thinking of North Korea,” and that Kim would still be “running his country.”
Trump’s definition of a “Libya model” appears to have differed from Bolton’s. The national security adviser advocated for verification of North Korea’s denuclearization efforts, but he did not seem to imply that the US would try to remove the North Korean leadership.
Pence’s remarks on Monday appear to have added to the confusion. When asked if his comparison between Libya and North Korea could be perceived as a threat, he responded: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”
“I don’t think President Trump is thinking about public relations,” Pence said. “He’s thinking about peace.”
“It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump.”
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