09:31 GMT02 June 2020
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    With Christmas around the corner for the US, defense officials and citizens are awaiting North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s alleged present for the US. While many suggest Pyongyang may resume its long-range missile tests, two Asian policy experts tell Sputnik that there are many ways this gift-giving can play out.

    Emanuel Pastreich, founder and director of The Asia Institute, a pan-Asian think tank, and Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear on Tuesday to provide their thoughts on what may be behind Pyongyang’s so-called gift to the US.

    “What I’m hearing is that there is not going to be any [intercontinental ballistic missile] test,” Simone Chun told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou, referring to what Pyongyang’s so-called “Christmas gift” to the US could be. It’s more likely that there will be an “abandonment of Kim Jong Un’s nuclear negotiation with [US President Donald] Trump and consolidating Pyongyang’s status as a nuclear weapons state.” 

    Trump has taken a questionable approach to his North Korean counterpart’s perceived threat, telling reporters at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida, that the surprise could just be a “nice present.” 

    "We'll find out what the surprise is and we'll deal with it very successfully. We'll see what happens,” he told reporters. "Maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test.” 

    Chun explained that the US’ recent expansion of its own nuclear weapons capabilities is also something the North Korean government has observed over the past several months following Washington’s pull out from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty

    “I think many factors all indicate or suggest that North Korea is going to halt nuclear negotiations with Trump and also [seek] more alliance and, also, support from China and Russia to endure  this current sanctions regime,” she added.  

    Pastreich told the hosts that while he is not a fortune teller, Washington’s conduct since the leaders signed their historic, four-point document - which included a call for both nations to practice relations that would lead to “peace and prosperity” - could be the motivation behind the “gift.” 

    “The first is withdrawing from the INF treaty on medium-range nuclear weapons systems and this is profoundly in northeast Asia and the US is now secretly - or not publicly - pressuring Japan, South Korea and other countries to station these, which would be a threat to basically everybody,” he contended. 

    Pastreich pointed out that the Defense Appropriations Act plays another role in the US’ provocation because the budget has “built into it sort of a thrust for confrontation with North Korea and China.” 

    Despite these factors at play, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s actual move and “gift” to the US is anyone’s guess. Although, chances are, it’s very unlikely that Trump will be receiving a vase. 

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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    INF Treaty, INF Treaty Withdrawal, INF Treaty, US nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons, Trump-Kim deal, Trump-Kim Summit, Mar-a-Lago, ICBM, ICBM, North korea, Pyongyang
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