America is expecting a 'Christmas surprise’ from North Korea and mystery surrounds the nature of the surprise. Some people feel it could have links to missiles. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump held their first face-to-face summit in Singapore in June 2018. At the time, the two leaders issued a joint statement. Its gist was that North Korea was committed to working toward total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

However, the subsequent summit in Hanoi ‎in February 2019 was a non-starter. Later, in June the US President crossed over to the North and met the North Korean leader at the DMZ.

In spite of such interactions, the sides failed to identify common ground and the talks stalled. That is probably forcing Pyongyang to up the ante because sanctions imposed on it are hurting its economy. After the Singapore summit, Kim’s regime had toned down its missile launches but in view of the lack of progress in talks, it could be trying to force the issue.

Daily Mail UK says that if Pyongyang does launch or test a missile, it would not help the cause of peace in the region.

Rather, it would become an obstacle to get North Korea back to the negotiating table on the subject of denuclearization. It seems the country recently conducted some tests. It described them as 'crucial.' Those in the know interpret this development as a prelude to launching a space vehicle or long-range missile.

Kim’s regime continues to test its arsenal

Right now, there is a lull but any activity associated with an ICBM would jeopardize the diplomatic efforts initiated by US President Donald Trump.

An expert who has examined different launch sites in the hermit kingdom says they are in readiness and “basically ready to go.” In his opinion, the launch could be of a sea-based weapon or a solid-fuel rocket. The latter would deprive the targeted countries of adequate lead-time for counter action.

Daily Mail UK quotes the US military that says North Korea has launched more than 20 missiles this year.

These include a submarine-launched ballistic missile. North Korea had earlier sent two new intermediate-range missiles over Japan and had the US territory of Guam in its sights. The Americans have about 28,000 troops in South Korea and the US military remains alert.

Tension escalates in the Korean peninsula

According to CNN, the proposed Christmas gift from North Korea to the United States has the officials guessing. It appears to be an outburst of frustration from Pyongyang and it wants to attract the attention of Washington. Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump met thrice hoping to strike a deal on the subject of denuclearization.

Kim wants relief from sanctions while Trump wants the country to abandon its nuclear programs. Incidentally, North Korea has not detonated a nuclear weapon or test-fired an ICBM since 2017. It has blown up some of the tunnels at its nuclear test site, Punggye-ri. However, there was an invitation to only journalists, not experts, to witness the destruction. Obviously, the US hopes to take suitable action to ensure that the situation does not spiral out of control.

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