Trump Offers North Korea 'Protections' in Exchange for Surrendering Nukes

President Donald Trump offered “protections” to North Korea on Thursday if Kim Jong Un, the country’s leader, agrees to strike a deal with the United States where North Korea relinquishes its nuclear weapons, ABC News reports. The president also warned of consequences if a deal could not be reached.

“He will get protections that are very strong,” President Trump said during an Oval Office meeting with NATO’s secretary-general. “The best thing he could do is make a deal.”

Trump’s comments come amid concerns that North Korea will withdraw from the upcoming Trump-Kim summit. On Wednesday, North Korea announced it may not show up for the summit if the U.S. continues to demand “unilateral” disarmament, The Hill reports.

According to ABC News, Trump offered assurances that the U.S. would not seek to overthrow Kim if a deal was reached, and promised that a potential deal could include major economic benefits for North Korea.

“This would be with Kim Jong Un something where he'd be there. He'd be in his country. He'd be running his country,” Trump said. “His country would be very rich. His people are tremendously industrious.”

North Korean officials also called out National Security Adviser John Bolton for saying that the U.S. is seeking a “Libya model” with North Korea, The Hill reports. Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was removed from power with the help of NATO forces in 2011 after reaching an agreement with the U.S. to surrender his nuclear weapons eights years earlier.

Trump directly contradicted his National Security Advisor on Thursday when he said that the Libya model “isn't a model that we have at all.”

“The Libyan model was a much different model,” Trump said. “We decimated that country. We never said to Gadhafi: 'Oh, we're going to give you protection, we're going to give you military strength, we're going to give you all of these things; we went in and decimated him.”

Trump, however, followed up with a warning that the Libya model could come into play if a deal is not reached, ABC News reports.

“Now that model would take place if we don't make a deal, most likely,” Trump said. “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.”

According to The Hill, plans for the upcoming summit are moving ahead “as if nothing happened,” as North Korea has not officially told the U.S. that it is withdrawing. The president had an attitude of “whatever happens, happens” in regards to the uncertainty of the summit. “Either way, we’ll be in great shape,” Trump said.