KEY POINTS

  • President Donald Trump played down North Korea’s promised Christmas gift and said he expects a nice vase
  • The US runs aerial surveillance missions over the Korean peninsula
  • The Pacific Air Forces expect North Korea could be planning a long-range missile

President Donald Trump has played down North Korea’s promised Christmas gift threat.  The President, on a vacation in Florida’s Mar-a-Lago, said he expected an attractive present something like a “nice vase.” 

“Maybe it's present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. You never know.” Trump said. 

However, American military officials are concerned it could be a long-range ballistic missile test. 

Trump’s reaction came on Tuesday to a question on how he would respond if Pyongyang fired a missile over the holidays. The jovial reply of Trump contrasts the concerns of the security establishment on the undefined “Christmas gift."

North Korea had warned if progress on lifting sanctions by the U.S does not happen by year-end it will deliver a Christmas gift.

The Pacific Air Forces command expects the gift could be the launch of a long-range missile. Trump has reportedly discussed the matter with his counterparts in China and Japan, the CNN report noted.

However, a few weeks ago the U.S President warned North Korea that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has “everything” to lose the acts aggressively with missile tests.

“Kim Jong Un is too smart and far too much to lose, everything, if he acts in a hostile way. He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore,” Trump reminded.

Aerial surveillance missions

Meanwhile, the report by the New York Post said the U.S. flew many surveillance planes over the Korean Peninsula this week amidst rising tensions over North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's “Christmas gift” to President Trump.

According to reports, the mission had four American aircraft including the RC-135W Rivet Joint, that flew near the peninsula between Tuesday and early Wednesday, quoting South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

The RC-135S took also flew missions over the East Sea.

Meanwhile, some analysts and ex-officials urged the Trump administration to take a tougher stand toward Pyongyang in 2020 on North Korea’s threats.  US President Donald Trump, pictured (left) with North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the Military Demarcation Line dividing North and South Korea, said he would be "surprised" by hostility from Pyongyang US President Donald Trump, pictured (left) with North Korea's Kim Jong Un at the Military Demarcation Line dividing North and South Korea, said he would be "surprised" by hostility from Pyongyang Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski

According to the Fox News report, Kim Jong Un’s regime wants the U. S sanctions to end this year and speculations are rife on an intercontinental ballistic missile test that could deliver a nuclear warhead.

The nuclear talks between the two sides collapsed at the February summit between Trump and Kim.

Gordon Chang, Asia analyst said it is unclear what Kim will do but it won’t be “something good.”

The analyst told Fox News that he expects Kim Jong Un will use the New Year’s address to say denuclearization is “off the table” and he said Trump must respond with actions than insults.