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Trump reassures Kim, then warns N. Korea could be ‘decimated’

Washington, May 18 (IANS) US President Donald Trump has reassured Kim Jong-un that he would remain in power if he gives up his nuclear weapons programme, but warned the North Korean leader with “decimation” if he refuses to strike a deal with Washington.

Trump’s comments came on Thursday after Kim threatened to pull out of the June 12 summit with the US expected to take place in Singapore, CNN reported.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Trump said he was “willing to do a lot” to offer Kim “protections” if he agrees to surrender his nuclear weapons.

“He will get protections that are very strong… The best thing he could do is make a deal,” the President said, adding that preparations for the meeting were moving ahead “as if nothing happened”.

Trump also said that the US had not heard official word from the North Koreans about any intention to pull out.

“Our people are literally dealing with them right now in terms of making arrangements, so that’s a lot different than what you read, but oftentimes what you read, if it’s not fake news, is true,” he said.

But he also warned him, giving two options — reach an agreement to denuclearize and remain in power or suffer the fate of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who was overthrown and murdered by rebels who were supported by a NATO bombing campaign in 2011.

“If you look at that model with Gaddafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely,” Trump said.

“But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.”

Trump, however, said that the US was not using “the Libyan model” in its negotiations with North Korea, distancing himself from National Security Adviser John Bolton, who had explicitly mentioned “the Libya model of 2003-2004” as a basis for talks with Pyongyang.

“The Libyan model isn’t the model we have at all when we are thinking of North Korea. In Libya, we decimated that country … There was no deal to keep Gaddafi,” Trump said.

In 2003, Gaddafi agreed to eliminate his country’s weapons of mass destruction in exchange for US economic incentives, although the agreement purportedly did not give Gaddafi any security guarantees.

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