North Korea is once again lashing out at senior Trump administration officials; this time, it appears Vice President Mike Pence is the one in the rogue regime’s sights.
After President Donald Trump threatened North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with violent regime change reminiscent of the horrific fate that befell Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi should he fail to make a nuclear deal, the vice president doubled down Monday in an interview with Fox News. “As the president made clear,” Pence explained, “This will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn’t make a deal.”
“As a person involved in the U.S. affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the U.S. vice-president,” Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Choe Son Hui said in a statement carried by North Korean state media Thursday.
“If he is vice president of ‘single superpower’ as is in name, it will be proper for him to know even a little bit about the current state of global affairs and to sense to a certain degree the trends in dialogue and the climate of detente,” he added. “We could surmise more than enough what a political dummy he is as he is trying to compare the DPRK, a nuclear weapon state, to Libya that had simply installed a few items of equipment and fiddled around with them.”
Both White House National Security Adviser John Bolton and Pence have made references to the so-called Libya model, infuriating North Korea. Pyongyang objects to comparisons between North Korea — a nuclear-armed state with the ability to strike the U.S. — and Libya, a country that abandoned its nuclear weapons program early on in the development process. Libya’s vulnerable leadership was then overthrown and brutally executed by rebels.
Speaking to reporters on May 17, the president threatened Kim with the Libya model. “That model would take place if we don’t make a deal most likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong un is going to be very, very happy,” Trump said, laying out both the carrot and the stick. (RELATED: Trump Suggests Regime Change On Table With North Korea, Absent Nuclear Deal)
“We can also make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now,” Choe explained in his statement, without elaborating.
Interestingly, North Korean officials have not attacked Trump the way they have other administration officials. They have, however, threatened to cancel the Trump-Kim summit.
“In case the U.S. offends against our goodwill and clings to unlawful and outrageous acts, I will put forward a suggestion to our supreme leadership for reconsidering the DPRK-U.S. summit,” Choe said Thursday. “We will neither beg the U.S. for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us. Whether the U.S. will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision … of the U.S.”
After weeks of increasingly peaceful rhetoric, North Korea suddenly changed its tone last week, criticizing Trump’s administration for certain statements — particularly those comparing the North to Libya. Since that time, tensions have been steadily rising between Washington and Pyongyang, with both sides casting uncertainty over the future of the upcoming summit.
There is a “substantial chance” the meeting may not occur, the president said Tuesday. (RELATED: Trump Concedes North Korea Summit ‘May Not Work Out’)
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