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Why North Korea Is Angered by ‘Libya Model’ in Nuclear Talks

When North Korea suddenly threw a historic summit meeting with the United States into question on Wednesday, it cited — five times — the fate of another country and another leader, half a world away, as an example of why no one should trust American efforts to disarm another nation.

The country was Libya, and the leader was Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, who made a bad bet that he could swap his nascent nuclear program for economic integration with the West. That deal, executed by the Bush administration nearly 15 years ago, is a footnote to American histories of that era.

But it has always loomed large for the North Koreans.

Why North Korea Is Angered by ‘Libya Model’ in Nuclear Talks
Why North Korea Is Angered by ‘Libya Model’ in Nuclear Talks

The planned June 12 meeting between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, has been regarded by disarmament advocates as an opportunity to end decades of animosity between North Korea and the United States.

But in the mind of Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who was an architect of the Libya deal, that is the model of how things should play out as the two leaders meet: Complete nuclear disarmament, in return for the promise of economic integration. Mr. Bolton said as much last weekend.

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