A high-ranking North Korean official has slammed the U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s “Libya model” comments and has threatened of a nuclear showdown if summit talks fail.
A vice minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, Choe Son Hui, said if the United States continued with the same “behavior,” they could very well be met with a nuclear showdown instead of a summit.
"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States," Choe said in comments carried by North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency.
The strident remarks from Choe came as a response to Pence’s comments over North Korea during a Fox News show. She called his comments “unbridled and impudent."
During the show, Pence referred to U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton’s remarks about America’s stance on North Korean denuclearization.
Bolton said U.S. would follow the negotiation with Libya in the 2000s when dealing with North Korea.
"There was some talk about the Libya model," Pence told Fox News' Martha MacCallum. "As the President made clear, this will only end like the Libya model ended if Kim Jong Un doesn't make a deal."
When the Fox News host pointed out the comments may seem like a threat to many, Pence stated, they were “more a fact” than a threat.
Choe, on the other hand, called Pence a “political dummy” for his remarks. She also said Libya’s nuclear program was nowhere near as developed as North Korea’s when Moammar Gadhafi made the deal with the U.S.
"As a person involved in the US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at such ignorant and stupid remarks gushing out from the mouth of the US vice president," she said.
What’s also troubling is that North Korea has long cited Libya as the reason they have nuclear weapons in the first place.
Not even 10 years after Gadhafi agreed to abandon his nuclear program in return for relief in sanctions; he was ousted from his power and killed with the help of NATO-backed forces.
"They (the North Koreans) are very proud, they don't like being bullied and they certainly don't like the repeated references to Libya and the repeated reference to its poverty," said Jean Lee, the director of the Hyundai Motor-Korea Foundation Center for Korean History and Public Policy at the Wilson Center.
Others have also slammed Pence for his comments liking North Korea to Libya.
"The Libya analogy is deliberately inflammatory. It never applied to North Korea and is useful neither to convey resolve nor to set expectations on nuclear issues," Adam Mount, the director of the Defense Posture Project at the Federation of American Scientists, told CNN in an email.
North Korea has never been one for diplomacy but the recent fiery remarks are particularly by a high-ranking official that too so close to the historic summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, could prove to be a matter of grave concern for U.S. officials.
While the preparations for the summit between Trump and the North Korean despot are underway in full swing, the U.S. president has recently cast doubt on whether or not it may happen.
Trump, who has been particularly buoyant about his impending deal with North Korea often claiming no one has achieved what he has (with regards to denuclearization), has recently changed stance ever since North Korea took a sharp rhetoric, calling out the U.S. for “misleading public opinion” by taking sole credit for denuclearization.
The summit is scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque, Korea Summit Press Pool