“He will get protections that are very strong,” President Trump said from the Oval Office in an apparent attempt to lure the North Korean leader to the negotiating table after reports that Pyongyang is threatening to withdraw from a planned summit in June.
The president offered direct assurances that the U.S. would not seek to overthrow Kim if a deal is hatched and further promised that a potential deal would include major economic sweeteners for Kim and his country.
But the president followed up by warning that the Libya model may come into play if no deal can be reached.
“Now that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely,” he said, again referring to the Libya model. “But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong Un is going to be very, very happy. I really believe he's going to very happy.”
Taking a nonchalant tone to whether his planned summit with Kim in fact occurs, the president said the U.S. is currently moving forward as if the meeting is happening but said his attitude is “whatever happens, happens. Either way, we’ll be in great shape.”
While the president said that he wants to make a deal, and believes Kim Jong Un does as well, he suggested that China may be playing a role in North Korea showing signs of getting cold feet ahead of the summit.
“With deals, that's what I do, is deals,” the president said, “and with deals, you have to have two parties that want to do it. He absolutely wanted to do it. Perhaps he doesn't want to do it. Perhaps he spoke with China. That could be right.”
“The best thing he could ever do is to make a deal,” Trump continued. “I have a feeling, however, that for various reasons, maybe including trade, because they've never had this problem before -- China has never had this problem with us -- it could very well be that he's influencing Kim Jong Un,” referring to China's President Xi.
“We'll see what happens,” he said in conclusion.