May 17, 2018 / 6:09 PM / 5 months ago

If it happens, it happens: Trump says not told anything on North Korea summit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump on Thursday distanced himself from comments from his national security adviser that led North Korea to cast doubt on a planned summit and said as far as he knew the meeting with Kim Jong Un was still on track.

Secret Service agents hold the door to his car as U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to visit first lady Melania Trump at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where she is recovering from kidney surgery, in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

“North Korea is actually talking to us about times and everything else as though nothing happened,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office during a picture-taking session with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Trump said he was not pursuing the so-called “Libya model” in getting North Korea to denuclearize. His national security adviser, John Bolton, had suggested the Libya model in comments on Sunday, prompting North Korea to threaten to cancel.

He said the deal he was looking at would protect Kim - “he would be there, he would be running his country, his country would be very rich,” Trump said.

“The Libya model was a much different model. We decimated that country,” he said.

He said the Libya model would only come into play if a deal cannot be reached with North Korea.

“We cannot let that country have nukes. We just can’t do it,” he said.

Trump told reporters that if the meeting happens then “it happens” and if not the United States will go on to the next thing.

Reporting by Steve Holland; Writing by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Phil Berlowitz

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