US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be planning to give him “a nice present” such as a “beautiful vase” for Christmas rather than a missile launch. This came after Trump was asked what he will do if North Korea does conduct a long-range missile test. “Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” Trump said. “I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.
Nuclear talks between the US and North Korea have been stalled since a February summit between Trump and Kim fell apart.
The North has threatened to take unspecified action if sanctions are not eased by the end of the year, and speculation has centred on the possibility of a new missile test, possibly of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric was asked whether Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had a message for Kim on Christmas Eve regarding a “Christmas gift.”
“Our message is to the leadership of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea to work for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to resume working level talks with the United States. Diplomatic engagement is the only pathway to sustainable peace and complete denuclearisation and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” Dujarric said.
The North is under heavy US and United Nations sanctions over its nuclear programme but it has been frustrated at the lack of relief after it declared a moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) tests.
Earlier, Russia and China proposed easing sanctions against nuclear-armed North Korea, on condition the regime commits to Security Council resolutions on denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
The draft text said the Council “shall adjust the sanction measures towards the DPRK as may be needed in light of the DPRK’s compliance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions.” It also underlined the necessity of having “the most favourable approach towards requests for exemptions from existing UN sanctions against the DPRK for humanitarian and livelihood purposes”.