With the outcome of nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States uncertain, North Korea’s foreign ministry said President Donald Trump will decide which “Christmas gift” the U.S. receives if it doesn’t meet their demands on denuclearization.
In a Tuesday statement reported by Bloomberg, North Korean diplomat Ri Thae Song accused Trump of slow-walking denuclearization talks despite an end-0f-year deadline imposed by North Korea to reach a deal. North Korea reportedly wants greater concessions from the U.S., including winding down economic sanctions, as a prerequisite to completing a denuclearization deal.
The Trump administration has placed North Korean denuclearization ahead of any concessions on sanctions, insisting North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un make the first compromise.
“Drawing nearer is the year-end time limit the DPRK set for the U.S.,” Ri said. “What is left to be done now is the U.S. option and it is entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get.”
North Korea, referred to by Ri as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), has refrained from testing nuclear bombs since they first initiated denuclearization talks with the Trump administration. North Korea has also stopped testing missiles that might reach the U.S. in a potential conflict, according to Bloomberg.
After talks stalled in February, North Korea did return to testing missiles that can reach countries close by, such as Japan. Those weapons tests have persisted ahead of the looming deadline for a deal with the U.S. and have coincided closely with North Korean statements condemning the lack of progress.
Trump and Kim have met three times since June of 2018, with the first meeting in Singapore. A second meeting was held in Hanoi, Vietnam in February and, though the second summit reportedly failed, the two leaders again held a brief meeting at the Korean demilitarized zone.
Another round of October negotiations in Stockholm, Sweden ended early amid North Korean claims talks did not meet expectations and the denuclearization efforts “broke down.”
In a Nov. 18 statement reported by Fox News, North Korean foreign ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea had no interest in holding additional summits between Trump and Kim. The statement followed a Trump tweet in which he addressed Kim and said “See you soon!”
“Three rounds of DPRK-U.S. summit meetings and talks were held since June last year, but no particular improvement has been achieved in the DPRK-U.S. relations,” the statement said. “The U.S. only seeks to earn time, pretending it has made progress in settling the issue of the Korean Peninsula.”
The statement continued to suggest North Korea feels Trump has only worked on denuclearization talks to tout as an accomplishment of his administration.
“As we have got nothing in return, we will no longer gift the U.S. president with something he can boast of, but get compensation for the successes that President Trump is proud of as his administrative achievements,” the statement said.