Specter of Qaddafi Haunts North Korea Talks

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Kim Jong Un does not fancy being another Muammar Qaddafi.

North Korea watched on in caution and then horror as the Libyan leader accepted a U.S. deal to dismantle his nuclear regime in return for sanctions relief, because it turns out there was no lifetime guarantee: In 2011 he was killed by NATO-backed rebels, with ignominious images of his bloodied body going viral on social media.

For Kim, the episode highlights the perils of accepting assurances from the U.S. in return for handing over his weapons.

So the championing by U.S. President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton of a "Libyan model" for North Korean disarmament was never going to go down well. It's just weeks before Trump and Kim are due to meet in Singapore. Meanwhile the U.S. and South Korea are carrying out annual military drills that tend to upset Pyongyang.

The gulf is already wide, with the U.S. wanting proof of "irreversible" denuclearization before sanctions are lifted, and North Korea seeking a step-by-step process.

Now, North Korea says Bolton's muddying of the waters could put the summit itself in doubt. Either way, it's unlikely Kim will want him at the table.

Specter of Qaddafi Haunts North Korea Talks

Global Headlines

All eyes on Gaza | Diplomatic fallout from Israel's lethal confrontation with Palestinians is mounting. While Israel says at least 24 of the 60 Palestinians killed on Monday were militants, the Palestinian Authority is moving to prosecute the Jewish state on war crimes allegations at the International Criminal Court, Turkey and South Africa are pulling their ambassadors, and several Western capitals are registering outrage.

Women win | The days of Pennsylvania’s all-male congressional delegation are over. Both Democrats and Republicans nominated a woman in a Philadelphia district — part of a wave of female winners in yesterday's primaries in four states. Democrats in particular are banking on enthusiasm from women to help net the 23 seats needed to win a U.S. House majority, which would significantly boost their ability to block Trump’s agenda.

Seeking influence | Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen offered to help Novartis AG get a grip on the administration’s position on key health-care issues, former CEO Joe Jimenez tells Bloomberg. Jimenez said Cohen told him he'd stopped working for the president before pitching for business with the Swiss drug maker but that their agreement had quickly turned sour when it became clear Cohen had "oversold his abilities.”

Malaysia's high-speed reforms | Political leader Anwar Ibrahim is a free man just a week after his coalition’s shock election win and following more than three years in jail. His release and pardon come as his partner in the ruling alliance, Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, accelerates efforts to reopen probes into state-run investment fund 1MDB, vowing to recover all the money and honor its debt obligations.

Specter of Qaddafi Haunts North Korea Talks

Eastern promises | EU leaders are meeting in Bulgaria this week to show they're serious about taking new members into the bloc from the Balkans in around 2025. It's part of a tug-of-war between global powers in this strategic corner of the continent, as the EU tries to convince Serbia and five other countries to make the changes they need to join amid the worst deterioration of ties between Russia and the West since the Cold War.

Midterm watch

  • In the Pennsylvania Senate race, U.S. Representative Lou Barletta won the Republican primary and will face incumbent Democrat Bob Casey.
  • Lincoln City Councilwoman Jane Raybould won the Democratic primary for the Nebraska Senate and will face Republican incumbent Deb Fischer, who fended off four challengers.
  • Idaho Lieutenant Governor Brad Little won the state's Republican gubernatorial primary, defeating U.S. Representative Raul Labrador, a founding member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

And finally... Corn Flakes are about to become even scarcer in Venezuela. Kellogg Co. said it will discontinue operations in the troubled South American nation, blaming the country’s economic and social deterioration. Rampant inflation has already put the cereal beyond the purchasing power of most families. The food giant's announcement follows the departure of others such as Kimberly-Clark and Colgate-Palmolive.

Specter of Qaddafi Haunts North Korea Talks

To contact the author of this story: Rosalind Mathieson in Singapore at rmathieson3@bloomberg.net.

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