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US President Donald Trump on Thursday tried to put his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un back on track, saying he would not seek to implement a so-called “Libya model” for denuclearisation that would force Pyongyang to give up its arms and see Kim ousted.

Pyongyang on Tuesday threatened to cancel the summit set for June 12 in Singapore, blaming US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

That was a reference to comments made by Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton, who referred to the “Libya model from 2003, 2004” as a blueprint for the denuclearisation promised by North Korea.

In late 2003, then Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi agreed to the elimination of his country's nuclear programme and chemical weapons arsenal to gain sanctions relief.

The reference was seen in Pyongyang as unfortunate at best: after giving up his atomic programme, Kadhafi was killed in 2011 in an uprising backed by NATO bombing.

Kim “will get protections that will be very strong,” Trump told reporters. “He'd be in his country and running his country.”