Adviser: U.S. has ‘tools’ to respond to North Korea ‘Christmas gift’

Kim Jong Un. Photo:

Dec. 29 (UPI) — National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday the United States is prepared to make North Korea face consequences if the nation follows through on its promise of a “Christmas gift” by the end of the year.

Appearing on ABC News’ This Week, O’Brien said the United States has “a lot of tools in our toolkit” and would bring additional pressure to bear on North Koreans if Leader Kim Jong Un conducts long-range nuclear missile tests amid negotiations on denuclearization with President Donald Trump.

“If Kim Jong Un takes that approach, we will be extraordinarily disappointed and we will demonstrate that disappointment,” he said.

O’Brien’s comments come in response to Ri Tae Song, a North Korean diplomat in charge of U.S. affairs, who said North Korea could send the United States a Christmas gift if Trump does not deliver a new approach to relations.

“What a Christmas gift will be, that is entirely up to the United States,” Ri said.

North Korean demands include sanctions relief ahead of a fully verifiable denuclearization and suspension of all U.S.-South Korea joint exercises.

O’Brien said the United States is still monitoring the situation but also suggested Trump’s relationship with Kim may have led him to reconsider.

“Charman Un has said that there would be something over Christmas. I think the president has engaged in personal diplomacy at a very high level with him over the years and they have a good relationship personally,” he said. “So perhaps he’s reconsidered that. But we will have to wait and see. We’re going to monitor it closely. It’s a situation that concerns us, of course.


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