North Korea claims they will send a “Christmas gift” to the United States, but what that present contains will depend on the outcome of ongoing talks between Washington and Pyongyang, a top official has warned.
The ominous comments have left some officials to interpret it as a sign that North Korea could be hinting at an attempt to resume long-distance missile tests. Although the details of the ”gift” remain unclear, the comments come as the clock ticks closer to the country’s self-imposed end-of-year deadline for nuclear negotiations with the Trump administration.
The progress of talks between the two sides have appeared to stall in recent months as North Korea resumed several shorter-range missile tests.
According to CNN, in a statement translated on the state news agency, Ri Thae Song, a first vice minister at the North Korean Foreign Ministry working on US affairs, accused US policymakers of leveraging talks with Kim Jong Un for domestic political gain.
“The dialogue touted by the US is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the US,” Ri said, using the acronym for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency announced on Wednesday that the country’s most powerful political body, the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea, will meet at the end of the month “in order to discuss and decide on crucial issues in line with the needs of the development of the Korean revolution and the changed situation at home and abroad.”
Whatever North Korean leader Kim Jong Un plans to do with respect to nuclear negotiations will likely be finalized at that meeting, according to Duyeon Kim, a senior adviser on the Northeast Asia and nuclear policy to the International Crisis Group.
“The outcome of this meeting and Pyongyang’s policy line will depend on how happy they are with Washington and will be revealed in (Kim Jong Un’s) New Year’s Day address,” said Duyeon Kim.
“It is entirely up to the US what Christmas gift it will select to get,” added Ri.