President Trump on Thursday tried to soothe tension with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un after the dictator threatened not to show up to next month’s peace summit with the president.
“He will get protections that are very strong,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “The best thing he could do is make a deal.”
The North warned that it might cancel the historic June 12 meeting in Singapore to express its displeasure with joint American-South Korean military exercises, which it saw as foreshadowing an invasion. Pyongyang also canceled a meeting this week with South Korea over the exercises.
The president stated he is “willing to do a lot” for the North in return for its denuclearization. He also pushed back on comparisons between President George W. Bush’s denuclearization deal with Libya in 2003 and the current talks with Pyongyang.
“In Libya we decimated that country,” Trump stated, referring to NATO’s role in the ousting of Libyan leader Moammar Qaddafi in 2011, only a few years after he relinquished his nuclear-weapons program as a result of talks with the Bush administration. “There was no deal to keep Gaddafi….The Libyan model was a much different model.”
Trump remained coy on what he expects the outcome of the meeting to be, and whether he is sure it will occur.
“Perhaps he doesn’t want to do it,” the president said of Kim’s willingness to make a deal. “If the meeting happens, it happens and if it doesn’t we go onto the next step.”