US Threatens North Korea with ‘Libya Scenario’

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Why has the US’ evocation of the “denuclearization model” applied to Libya become an obstacle to the diplomatic process with North Korea?

Associated Professor of Political Science at the University of Oslo, Malfrid Braut-Hegghammer, has explained to the Washington Post newspaper that, among other reasons, Pyongyang does not want to go through the same experience as Libya, which took the first step but later failed to receive the promised counterparts.

White House security adviser John Bolton suggested at the end of April to apply the “Libyan model of 2003-2004” in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, which triggered Pyongyang’s indignation.

Braut-Hegghammer, who wrote a book on the denuclearization of Libya and Iraq, recalled that in 2003 Muammar Gaddafi decided to abandon the nuclear program in exchange for eliminating economic sanctions, but the Libyan authorities complained that they did not receive the military and economic compensation that the United States and the United Kingdom promised them during the negotiations.

The first cause of Pyongyang’s displeasure over the analogy with Libya is that this model requires total disarmament first, and only then offers compensation only, the expert noted, adding that few countries are confident of the speedy materialization of compensation after what happened in Libya.

The expert stressed that yet another concern may be what happened to Libya after it de-nuclearized: NATO supported  jihadists’ overthrow of the Libyan government, which resulted in the capture, sodomizing, and brutal execution of Gaddafi on October 20, 2011, and Libya’s degeneration into a failed state. 

In addition, the author points out that while Libya’s nuclear program was never a priority for the country’s survival, in the case of North Korea it is quite different. The Asian country is a nuclear power and does not want to see itself forced to participate in negotiations under military threats or economic sanctions.

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Braut-Hegghammer also explained that Bolton’s comment was in itself a provocation that offended Pyongyang, because North Korea has repeatedly, explicitly pointed out that it does not want to go through the same experience as Libya.

According to the North Korean news agency KCNA , First Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan has stated that the DPRK has no interest in holding a summit with the US, which will eventually have a “one-sided” character. According to him, North Korea will refuse to carry out de-nuclearization along the lines of a Libyan scenario.

US President Donald Trump has claimed that he is not considering the so-called “Libyan model”,  but stressed that such a model would be implemented if no agreement was reached with Pyongyang.

However, the State Department has not commented on Trump’s words.

Russian analyst Vladimir Kolotov has stressed that Washington’s statements often contradict each other: “The events of the last few years show that we cannot rely on the US, especially in the area of defense and security, because it was the US that bombed Yugoslavia without any right to do so, invaded Iraq under a pretext, overthrew Gaddafi, and is currently trying to depose the Syrian president and, under an invented pretext, unilaterally withdrew from the Iranian agreement.”

“The United States has completely destroyed the system of international law, and now the ‘law of the jungle’ is in force on the world stage, which is leading to an arms race with all the consequences,” Kolotov summarized.

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