New Year is approaching, and with it the end of the ultimatum put by Pyongyang to the Washington. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Korea said on Tuesday with a barely concealed threat: “The United States can choose what Christmas gift they want”, said Deputy Foreign Minister Ri Thae-song, according to a message from the state news agency KCNA.
His country will “not hide what it will do from now on, and remind the United States once again that the end-year term is approaching”. America takes time instead of acting, the deputy foreign minister said. The dialogue calls from Washington are a “stupid trick” to stop North Korea and use the topic for the election campaign in America.
The deadline mentioned by Ri had set North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un in April in a speech to the Supreme People’s Assembly. In it, he announced that he would “patiently wait until the end of the year for the United States to make a bold decision”. It was about “rejecting the current calculation and approaching us with a new one”. The intention was to ease the international sanctions against Pyongyang in return for North Korean disarmament measures. If that did not happen, it would be “very dangerous,” he had threatened.
Strength demonstrated inside
Kim Jong-un wanted to demonstrate strength inside. North Korea’s propaganda had previously reported so effusively about the Supreme Leader’s trip to Vietnam that it was difficult to explain why he returned empty-handed. The apparatus then remained in shock for weeks, previous confidants Kim Jong-un had to serve as scapegoats.
It would also be conceivable to launch a satellite that North Korea would claim served solely for civilian purposes, although it would provide insights for the further development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.
As early as October, state propaganda had prepared the ground for a possible policy change. Kim Jong-un showed up on the back of a white horse on Mount Paektu, which plays a central role in Korean mythology and the ideology of the Kim’s inherited dictatorship. The agency KCNA commented on the pictures saying “there will be a big operation”. The world will be astonished. Kim had previously visited the mountain before making political decisions.
Near the mountain, the guide opened a new city on Monday, which he personally commissioned. The state press raved about a “socialist utopia” and the “epitome of a modern civilization”. That too should underline the self-confidence of the regime.
Donald Trump was unimpressed by the recent threat from Pyongyang. At the NATO meeting in London, he said, Kim Jong-un “likes to send rockets up, right? That’s why I call him a rocket man. He still has faith in Kim, Trump added. “We will see”.