“There was some talk about the Libyan model last week, and you know, as the President made clear, this will only end like the Libyan model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal,” Pence said in an interview that aired Monday evening on Fox News.
When it was noted that the comparison could be interpreted as a threat, Pence replied: “Well, I think it’s more of a fact.”
President Donald Trump’s national security adviser John Bolton’s comment that the Trump administration is looking at invoking Libya as an example on how to conduct a potential nuclear agreement with North Korea was met with concern from the Kim regime.
A North Korean official said Bolton’s comments were indicative of an “awfully sinister move” to imperil the Kim regime.
Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi agreed to abandon his nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief in the early 2000s. Within years, Gadhafi was overthrown and killed by rebels backed by Washington.
This comparison led the White House to initially downplay Bolton’s comments — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said last week that “there’s not a cookie cutter model on how this would work.”
“This is the President Trump model. He’s going to run this the way he sees fit. We’re 100% confident, as we’ve said many times before, as I’m sure you’re all aware, he’s the best negotiator and we’re very confident on that front,” she added.
On Monday, Pence said during his Fox News interview that under Trump’s leadership, the US “is not going to tolerate the regime in North Korea possessing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that threaten the United States and our allies.”
Trump is scheduled to sit down with Kim in June, however, in recent weeks North Korea has threatened to cancel the talks if it is pushed “into a corner” regarding nuclear disarmament.
“The reality is that we hope for a peaceable solution,” Pence said. “The President remains open to a summit taking place, and will continue to pursue that path even while we stand strong on the objective of denuclearization and the extreme pressure campaign that’s underway today.”
CNN’s Veronica Stracqualursi and Joshua Berlinger contributed to this report.