Some several thousand miles from the US mainland, there are fears that an unwarranted “Christmas gift” may interrupt our nation’s sacred and sanctimonious holiday season.
The curious language involved is a dead giveaway that North Korea is involved here, as the dainty despot of the DPRK, Kim Jong Un, has again used his military to threaten the United States – this time with a possible missile launch or nuclear test that would coincide with the Christmas holiday.
“North Korea has been advancing. It has been building new capabilities,” said Anthony Wier, a former State Department official who tracks nuclear disarmament for the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “As long as that continues, they gain new capabilities to try new missiles to threaten us and our allies in new ways,”
North Korea warned of a possible “Christmas gift” in early December, saying the Trump administration was running out of time on nuclear negotiations, and it was up to the U.S. to choose what “Christmas gift” it gets from Pyongyang.
Victor Cha, a Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said a review of the possible launch sites in North Korea shows they are a “basically ready to go.”
The US won’t be blindsided, however.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters earlier this week that the U.S. has heard all the talk of a possible upcoming test around Christmas.
“I’ve been watching the Korean Peninsula for a quarter-century now. I’m familiar with their tactics, with their bluster,” he said. “We need to get serious and sit down and have discussions about a political agreement that denuclearizes the peninsula. That is the best way forward and arguably the only way forward if we’re going to do something constructive.”
North Korea often used such military tests as a negotiating tactic, as their tiny and impoverished nation looks for new, unique ways to have crippling international sanctions lifted further.
They believe that their inevitable capitulation in canceling these tests will show the globe their good will, allowing other nations to feel at ease with a looser financial leash.