Trump watching NKorea 'closely' as talks deadline nears

NKorea says that if Washington fails to make it an acceptable offer, it will adopt a so far unspecified ‘new way.’

Afp December 17, 2019
Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington have been gridlocked since a second summit between North Korea's Kim Jong Un (left) and President Donald Trump in Hanoi in February ended without a deal. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said Monday he'd be "disappointed" if North Korea had something "in the works" as a year-end ultimatum from Pyongyang about the fate of their nuclear talks approaches.

The nuclear-armed North has issued increasingly strident declarations in recent weeks, even promising an ominous "Christmas gift" if Washington does not come up with some concessions.

The top US envoy to the negotiations with North Korea, Stephen Biegun, said in Seoul on Monday that Pyongyang's rumblings were "hostile and negative" -- and Trump said he was watching.

"We'll see. I'd be disappointed if something would be in the works. And if it is, we'll take care of it," Trump said at the White House when asked about the situation. "We're watching it very closely."

The negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang have been largely stalled since the collapse of a February summit in Hanoi between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea says missile test was ‘new’ submarine-based launch

The North has said that if Washington fails to make it an acceptable offer, it will adopt a so far unspecified "new way."

It has carried out a series of tests at its Sohae rocket facility this month, after a number of weapons launches in recent weeks.

"It's a concern -- their rhetoric," US Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters, saying a new missile test by North Korea is "probable" as long as it remains unhappy with the state of negotiations.

Tests "will be likely if they don't get satisfied," Esper said

Japan and others have said recent launches involved ballistic missiles, which Pyongyang is banned from testing under UN sanctions.


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