Trump belittles fears of North Korea 'Christmas present' by saying it could be 'a beautiful vase'

‘We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it very successfully’, president says before suggesting dictator may send him actual Christmas gift

Chris Riotta
New York
Tuesday 24 December 2019 19:13 GMT
South Korea's joint chief of staff expresses 'strong regret' after North Korea test-fires missiles off east coast

Donald Trump said he would deal with a surprise teased by North Korea “very successfully” while suggesting the tough talk from Pyongyang might actually be just that rather than another controversial missile test.

Speaking to members of the Armed Services on Christmas Eve, the president addressed recent comments made by the North, which said its “Christmas gift” to the US will depend on Washington’s actions.

The North has threatened to take unspecified action if sanctions are not eased by the end of the year, and speculation has focused on the possibility of a new missile test, possibly of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

“We’ll find out what the surprise is and we’ll deal with it very successfully”, the president said on Tuesday. “Let’s see what happens. Everybody’s got surprises for me but let’s see what happens. I handle them as they come along.”

Mr Trump, who is in Florida for the holidays, had just finished thanking service members from each branch of the military via satellite when he was asked about North Korea. He opted for a wait-and-see approach.

“Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” Mr Trump said.

He added: “I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.”

Nuclear talks between the US and North Korea have been stalled since a February summit between Mr Trump and the North Korean dictator fell apart.

A new satellite image of a factory where North Korea makes military equipment used to launch long-range missiles shows the construction of a new structure.

The president also used the holiday video call to attack the Democratic Party over his own impeachment, saying the US House of Representatives treated him “very unfairly” despite Democratic officials repeatedly offering his White House numerous opportunities to present evidence and witnesses during their investigation into his Ukraine dealings.

The president also said he still had not gotten Melania Trump a Christmas gift, telling members of the Armed Services: “I got her a beautiful card … I’m still working on a Christmas present.”

Additional reporting by Associated Press

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in