North Korea is getting into the Christmas spirit early, but I’m not sure anyone wants to be on the receiving end of their gifting.
Bloomberg News reports that top North Korean diplomat Ri Thae Song said in a statement Tuesday that the onus was on the U.S. side to determine how the regime would behave through the holiday season. Ri also accused the Trump administration of attempting to drag out talks and “use it in favor of the political situation and election in the U.S.,” according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency.
“Drawing nearer is the year-end time limit the DPRK set for the U.S.,” Ri said, referring to North Korea’s formal name. “What is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”
While it would be nice if North Korea sent over a puppy, or some homemade cookies, I don’t think that’s what Ri is referring to when he says “Christmas gift”.
North Korea has refrained from testing nuclear bombs and missiles capable of reaching the U.S. over the last two years, but now Kim Jong Un says that he wants sanctions lifted, or else.
While the country hasn’t been testing long-range missiles and bombs (reportedly), they have still been conducting tests to keep those in the region on their toes. When you’re country doesn’t really produce anything, your only move to impact the globe is threaten the economy of surrounding nations with the threat of a nuclear strike.
Kim and Trump have met three times since June 2018 and have little to show for their unprecedented diplomacy. While they initially pledged to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the two sides have so far failed to agree on what that means.
The Trump administration has called for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons before it can receive rewards, a move Pyongyang sees as political suicide. Kim’s regime has called for a step-by-step approach where any moves it makes toward disarmament are simultaneously met with a reward.
Hopefully an agreement is met soon, otherwise Kim might be getting a little bit more than a lump of coal this year.