You may remember reports late last month about North Korea threatening the United States with a “Christmas gift.” President Donald Trump said at the time, “Let’s see what happens. Everyone has got surprises for me but let’s see what happens. I handle them as they come along. Maybe it’s a nice present, maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase.”
This weekend White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien spoke to Axios and said, “All we know is we were told we were going to get a Christmas gift and the Christmas gift didn’t come. And so I think that was an encouraging sign.”
He added, “But, again, that doesn’t mean we won’t see some sort of test in the future.”
O’Brien told Axios that the Trump administration has reached out to North Korea and “let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October”:
“We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment” to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
O’Brien also indicated he was cautiously optimistic about the fact that Kim Jong-un hasn’t yet delivered his promised “Christmas gift” — which many analysts expected would be a nuclear weapons test.
Last month, before the “Christmas gift” threat, Trump had tweeted, “Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way… He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November. North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised.”
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