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Trump Downplays Threat Of 'Gift' From North Korea: Maybe It's A 'Beautiful Vase'

President Trump told reporters he would handle whatever "present" North Korea's Kim Jong Un plans to send.
Nicholas Kamm
AFP via Getty Images
President Trump told reporters he would handle whatever "present" North Korea's Kim Jong Un plans to send.

President Trump did not seem concerned Tuesday when asked about the threat of a "Christmas present" from North Korea if the U.S. doesn't roll back economic sanctions on the country by the end of the year.

"Maybe it's a nice present," Trump told reporters at an event at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida. "Maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase, as opposed to a missile test."

Pyongyang imposed an end-of-year deadline for concessions from the U.S. earlier this month, but the Trump administration has given no sign that it plans to give in to the pressure campaign. The U.S. wants North Korea to give up its entire nuclear arsenal before removing the sanctions.

Dealing with North Korea's nuclear ambitions has been one of Trump's top foreign policy priorities, and he has held a series of meetings with North Korea's Kim Jong Un to try to negotiate a solution.

It's unclear exactly what the "Christmas gift" is that North Korea is threatening, but NPR's Geoff Brumfiel laid out a few of the options on Monday, including launching a rocket with a payload into space, conducting an underground nuclear test, or testing a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States or its territories.

On Tuesday, Trump did not elaborate on how the U.S. would respond if North Korea were to conduct another missile test.

"We'll find out what the surprise is, and we'll deal with it very successfully. Let's see what happens. Everybody's got surprises for me — but let's see what happens," Trump said. "I handle them as they come along."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Miles Parks is a reporter on NPR's Washington Desk. He covers voting and elections, and also reports on breaking news.