US President Trump said that the US was "ready to deal with it" if North Korea launched a "Christmas gift" in the form of a missile, as was suggested this month. He added that maybe the gift would be a "beautiful vase."
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday dismissed North Korea's threat that it would deliver a "Christmas gift" to the West. He said the United States would "deal with it very successfully," amid speculation that Pyongyang may be preparing a missile test.
"We'll find out what the surprise is and we'll deal with it very successfully," Trump said on Monday at his Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is spending Christmas.
"Maybe it's a nice present," he added. "Maybe it's a present where he [Kim Jong Un] sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test."
North Korea warned Washington earlier in December of delivering a "Christmas gift" after leader Kim Jong Un gave the US a deadline of December 31 to give new concessions to reduce tensions between the countries.
Is the 'Christmas gift' a long-range missile test?
North Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Ri Thae Song said on December 3 that it was "entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get." Some US commentators perceived this as a direct threat of a long-range missile test.
New satellite images also show new buildings under construction at a site in North Korea where long-range missiles have been built.
Earlier this year, North Korea accused Washington of trying to drag out denuclearization talks ahead of the 2020 US presidential election.
North Korea has suspended long-range missile testing since 2017, a sign that Trump says shows his bilateral summits have been successful.
However, talks have faltered since February and the two sides are currently unable to agree to the next steps. North Korea has since launched a number of short-range missiles into the sea.
Trump's words come as Japan and South Korea meet to discuss, among other issues, the possible threat that North Korea poses.
ed/msh (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)