Christmas Day passed peacefully with no missile test as a “Christmas gift” from North Korea to the United States, but Seoul and Washington remain on high alert.
Seoul-based Korea Herald reported South Korea said it has seen no unusual signs in North Korea, but it and the United States are still keeping a close eye on Pyongyang amid rising speculation about the North’s next move.
A North Korean official earlier this month threatened to deliver an unspecified “Christmas gift” to the United States, accusing U.S. negotiators of trying to buy time without offering solutions to a nuclear agreement, according to The Hill.
“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,” the official said on Dec. 3.
On Wednesday, Dec. 25, President Donald Trump joked that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may plan a nice gift, such as a “beautiful vase” for Christmas rather than a missile launch.
“We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it very successfully,” President Trump told reporters in Palm Beach, Fla., when asked about how he would respond to whatever North Korea has planned.
“Let’s see what happens. Everybody’s got surprises for me, but let’s see what happens. I handle them as they come along,” the president said.
“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 president said.
The relations between the United States and North Korea became warmer this year after President Trump and Kim had a beyond-expectation meeting in late June at the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) where they agreed to resume their working-level nuclear talks.
North Korea has conducted some short-range missiles since then, but President Trump downplayed the potential threat from Pyongyang, saying the tests did not violate the pledge made by Kim during their summit last year.