Dec 24, 2019

Trump brushes off North Korea "Christmas gift"

President Trump on Dec. 24. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Tuesday dismissed North Korea's threat of a "Christmas gift" for the U.S., saying the military would “deal with it very successfully," Reuters reports.

Why it matters: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un said in October that the U.S. had until year’s end to propose new concessions in talks over his country’s nuclear arsenal and warned the U.S. to not ignore the deadline.

Context: Satellite imagery confirmed that North Korea is building a new structure at a factory near Pyongyang where it manufactures military trucks used as mobile launchers for long-range missiles.

  • The construction demonstrates that the country is broadly expanding its missile capabilities.

What he's saying:

“We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it very successfully. We’ll see what happens," Trump said according to Reuters. “Maybe it’s a nice present. Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test.”

The big picture: Leaders from China, Japan, South Korea on Tuesday at a trilateral summit reiterated their commitment to end North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, according to AP.

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New structure confirmed in North Korea military manufacturing area

Satellite imagery now confirms the construction of a new structure this month at a factory, near Pyongyang, where North Korea manufactures military trucks used as mobile launchers for long-range missiles.

Why it matters, from AP: North Korea has warned that what “Christmas gift” it gives the U.S. depends on what action Washington takes.

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Keep ReadingArrowDec 24, 2019

Kim Jong-un calls for "positive and offensive" security measures

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un visiting a farm Sept. 30, 2017. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un said during a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party Sunday that "positive and offensive measures" are needed to protect the country’s security and sovereignty, the state-run news agency KCNA reports.

Why it matters: Kim said in October that the U.S. had until the end of the year to propose new concessions in negotiations over North Korea's nuclear arsenal and warned the U.S. to not ignore the deadline.

Go deeperArrowDec 30, 2019

Kim Jong-un announces end to moratorium on nuclear weapon tests

Kim Jong Un giving his New Year's speech on Dec. 30, 2019. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said in a New Year's speech that his country would abandon a self-imposed moratorium on testing nuclear weapons and long-range ballistic missiles, declaring that there "will never be denuclearization on the Korean peninsula" unless the U.S. drops its "hostile" policies, according to state media.

Why it matters: North Korea has not conducted a nuclear or long-range missile test in more than two years, hoping for a breakthrough in negotiations spurred by Kim's friendly personal relationship with President Trump, according to the New York Times. Trump has often touted this moratorium as a diplomatic achievement.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Jan 1, 2020