….with the U.S. Presidential Election in November. North Korea, under the leadership of Kim Jong Un, has tremendous economic potential, but it must denuclearize as promised. NATO, China, Russia, Japan, and the entire world is unified on this issue!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019
The president’s tweet came after North Korea announced on Sunday that it carried out a “very important test” at its long-range rocket launch site that it reportedly rebuilt after having partially dismantled it at the start of denuclearization talks with the United States last year, according to The Associated Press .
The announcement comes amid dimming prospects for a resumption of negotiations, with the North threatening to seek “a new way” if it fails to get major U.S. concessions by year’s end. North Korea has said its resumption of nuclear and long-range missile tests depends on the United States.
Saturday’s test at the Sohae Satellite Launching Ground will have “an important effect on changing the strategic position of (North Korea) once again in the near future,” an unidentified spokesman from the North’s Academy of National Defense Science said in a statement, carried by the country’s official Korean Central News Agency, the Associated Press reported
A day earlier, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song said that denuclearization talks between North Korea and the U.S. were off the table.
“We do not need to have lengthy talks with the US now and the denuclearization is already gone out of the negotiation table,” the ambassador said in a statement, CNN reported.
USA Today reported that “when asked how the U.S. would respond if Kim resumes nuclear testing and the launching of long-range missiles, Defense Secretary Mark Esper told Fox News that he didn’t want to address a hypothetical scenario but that his job was to “ensure that we are ready” and “prepared to fight and win tonight, if necessary.” “
“We are in a high state of readiness right now,” Esper said.
But he stressed the importance of diplomacy and said, “The talks are always open.”
“We want to have negotiations,” Esper said. “We want to reach the point where we have denuclearized North Korea.”
Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, added that North Korea has a choice to make. “And we hope they make the right choice,” he said in an interview Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.’’
Reuters reported that President Trump told reporters on Saturday, Dec 7, “I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong Un.“
“I think we both want to keep it that way. He knows I have an election coming up. I don’t think he wants to interfere with that,” he said.
Include reporting from The Associated Press