During the failed US-North Korean summit last month in Vietnam, US President Donald Trump gave North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a piece of paper that included a demand for the transfer of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons to the United States, according to media reports.
Trump gave Kim both Korean and English-language versions of the US position at Hanoi’s Metropole hotel on February 28, the day that their talks collapsed, Reuters reported Saturday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the discussions.
A lunch between the two leaders was canceled the same day. While neither side has presented a complete account of why the summit collapsed, the document may help explain it.
It was the first time that Trump himself had explicitly defined what he meant by denuclearization directly to Kim, the source said.
Such a demand would have been seen by Kim as insulting and provocative, analysts said.
The document’s existence was first mentioned by US National Security Adviser John Bolton in television interviews he gave after the two-day summit.
But Bolton did not reveal in those interviews the key US expectation contained in the document that North Korea should transfer its nuclear weapons and fissile material to the United States.
The document appeared to represent Bolton’s hardline “Libya model” of denuclearization that North Korea has rejected repeatedly.
Trump had previously distanced himself in public comments from Bolton’s approach and said a “Libya model” would be employed only if a deal could not be reached.
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The so-called Libya model referrs to an agreement in 2003 by former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to surrender his country’s nuclear weapons program, which included allowing uranium centrifuges to be shipped out to the US.
Despite Gaddafi’s agreement to completely denuclarize, he was murdered by Western-backed rebels in Tripoli following a US=led NATO intervention in 2011 in support of a Libyan uprising.
The idea of North Korea handing over its weapons was first proposed by Bolton in 2004. He revived the proposal last year when Trump named him as national security adviser.
Last year, North Korea officials called Bolton’s plan “absurd” and noted the “miserable fate” that befell Gaddafi.
After the failed summit, a North Korean official accused Bolton and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo of “gangster-like” demands, saying Pyongyang was considering suspending talks with Washington and may rethink its self-imposed ban on missile and nuclear tests.
The English version of the document, seen by Reuters, called for “fully dismantling North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure, chemical and biological warfare program and related dual-use capabilities; and ballistic missiles, launchers, and associated facilities.”