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North Korea renews threat to quit summit after Pence remark

“We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons program, only to see them break those promises and abandon them,” he said, adding that if Pyongyang does not go along with talks to give up its nuclear weapons, Washington could return to the “Libya model.”

That suggestion, which was made earlier this month by National Security Adviser John Bolton and also sparked an outraged response from the North, is especially inflammatory to Pyongyang.

The Libya model refers to negotiations in 2004 that led to the shipping of nuclear components to the U.S. from Libya under Moammar Gadhafi. But in Pyongyang’s mind the most important part of the story is what came after that. Gadhafi was deposed after a 42-year reign and killed in 2011 — the year Kim assumed power in North Korea — while his country spiraled into chaos.

Image: Moammar Gadhafi
Moammar Gadhafi in 2011.Reuters file
North Korea renews threat to quit summit after Pence remark
North Korea renews threat to quit summit after Pence remark

“In view of the remarks of the U.S. high-ranking politicians who have not yet woken up to this stark reality and compare the DPRK to Libya that met a tragic fate, I come to think that they know too little about us,” she said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name.

She added: “To borrow their words, we can also make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now.”

How seriously the North would really consider calling off the summit isn’t entirely clear, however.

Meeting with Trump as an equal on the world stage would be an important moment for Kim and Choe couched her statement carefully, noting that she would only recommend the North Korean leader withdraw from the meeting if Washington “clings to unlawful and outrageous acts.”

North Korea was also expected to go through with a major gesture of goodwill ahead of the summit by dismantling its nuclear test site. The North, which has vowed to stop all underground nuclear testing and intercontinental ballistic missile launches, has invited foreign media to the remote site to observe a ceremony to mark the closing.

The ceremony was expected to be held Thursday or Friday, depending on the weather.

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