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Old 12-03-2019, 02:31 PM
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Arrow North Korea's promised 'Christmas gift' to Trump could be a missile test capable of s

North Korea's promised 'Christmas gift' to Trump could be a missile test capable of striking the US
By: Ellen Loanes - Inside Military & Defense - 12-3-19
RE: https://www.insider.com/north-korea-...otiate-2019-12

* North Korea's state-run news agency, KCNA, has again threatened the US should it not come to the negotiating table with major concessions like sanctions relief in exchange for its voluntary moratorium on missile testing.

* North Korea has threatened the US with a "Christmas gift," which experts believe may indicate a resumption of intercontinental ballistic missile testing.

* "It's possible they also see Trump as someone they're more likely to get a good deal with (compared to a more competent administration) and think he might not be around for much longer, given the looming impeachment and 2020 election," a North Korea expert told Insider.

North Korea has again lobbed a vague year-end threat at the Trump administration, saying the US can expect a "Christmas gift" if talks between US and North Korean officials don't lead to substantive concessions for North Korea.

As the year-end deadline that the hermit kingdom has given the US runs out, North Korea may renege on the only concession it has given President Donald Trump the promise to abandon nuclear and long-range weapons testing.

In November, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), North Korea's state-run news outlet, released a statement saying that time was quickly running out for the US to resume talks that had stalled after Trump's much-touted visit to the demilitarized zone (DMZ) in June. While US diplomats have said that tentative negotiations in Stockholm last month went well, North Korea's latest missive indicates otherwise.

North Korea's Vice Foreign Minister of US Affairs Ri Thae Song told KCNA that, "The DPRK has done its utmost with maximum perseverance not to backtrack from the important steps it has taken on its own initiative," referring to its promise not to test ICBMs or nuclear weapons, but that the US hasn't held up its end of the bargain which, to North Korea, means sanctions relief.

As researcher Joshua Pollack of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (CNS) wrote on Twitter, North Korea has historically tested missiles between February and September. But the language of a "Christmas gift" echoes a July 2017 statement from North Korea's ministry of foreign affairs that referred to the launch of three ICBMs, all of which landed west of Japan.

"A 'Christmas gift' in the form of a test into the Pacific seems not out of the question," Pollack wrote Tuesday.

"It's not implausible that they could give the world a Christmas or New Year gift of an ICBM test," Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT and a member of a member of MIT's Security Studies Program, told Insider.

"It's possible this is all aimed at generating pressure and leverage against Trump now, but by the same token, given the consistency and insistence on the deadline, and North Korea's history of doing what it says it is going to do... let's see what gift we get," Narang said.

"North Korea is very careful with its words," Shea Cotton, also a researcher at CNS, told Insider, indicating that it's no coincidence North Korea is again using the language of a threatening "gift."

Should North Korea continue this pattern, the US will have lost the only concession Trump managed to wrangle from the DPRK. But experts say that unless the US is willing to take denuclearization off the table, North Korea will likely be testing ICBMs or intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) in the near future but this time, there may be a few new details, like an overflight of Japan instead of "lofting" its launches, solid-fueled missile launches, or a satellite launch, Cotton told Insider.

Tuesday's statement accused Trump of trying to stall ahead of the 2020 elections.

"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," Song said in the statement.

"It's possible they also see Trump as someone they're more likely to get a good deal with (compared to a more competent administration) and think he might not be around for much longer, given the looming impeachment and 2020 election," Cotton told Insider.

Thus far, Trump has done little more than resurrect his "Rocket Man" nickname for Kim Jong Un and threaten a military response to North Korean provocations at a NATO summit Tuesday.

When asked the likelihood that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is bluffing, Cotton said, "Probably zero."

"North Korea has a pretty sophisticated missile program," he said. "They can probably test whenever they want more or less. If North Korea ends up not doing something like resuming testing it would only be because they found a reason not to, like the resumption of serious talks with the US."

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Personal note: Kim seems to really want to push the buttons. He's got new toy's and he's anxious to use them or at least threaten to use them. Not sure what's up his ass but I think he's making noise because nobody is giving him any attention. Putin needs to step up and tell Kim to put his toy's away before all HELL breaks loose. His continued anxiety about nuking the world - just because he thinks he can - can get his ass killed in the process. I don't know why he's been in power so long? You would think someone in NK would have knock his ass off by now. I don't know whose next in line but they better step up and do something before his country turns into ashes. Is he trying to prove something by threatening the US - if so he's in for the big hurt if he attempts to do this.

He's not been in the lime light of late that could be part of it - or nobody is giving him attention like all kids like to have. Having a big stick doesn't necessarily mean you can beat someone else other than your people. I can't believe the military there is not considering a regime change. Somebody a little less anxious or threatening? Those people have so much fear of their leadership I don't think anyone has the nerve to take the kid out. Take a dozen chill out pills and mellow out or eat more food you will feel better Kim - or maybe you've already had too much sugar? Life could be better Kim if you weren't such a nuke happy kid.

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