National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said Sunday the United States has many "tools in its tool kit" they could use to respond if North Korea fulfilled its promise of a "Christmas gift," which intelligence analysts have interpreted as a long-range or nuclear missile test.
"We’ll reserve judgement but the United States will take action as we do in these situations," O'Brien said on ABC's "This Week." "If Kim Jong Un takes that approach we’ll be extraordinarily disappointed and we’ll demonstrate that disappointment."
Tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have ratcheted up in recent months following the collapse of talks in February in Hanoi. However, a second historic meeting was held at the DMZ where President Trump crossed into North Korea. Another round of talks followed in October, but those broke down. O'Brien said the U.S. and North Korea had open channels of communication, but did not specify what those might be.
O'Brien said the Trump administration is hoping that Kim Jong Un would live up to his commitments to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
"Multiple administrations, Republican and Democrat have dealt with this situation without success over the years," said O'Brien. "President Trump took a different tack with personal diplomacy and so far we've had some success. Kim Jong Un promised to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. We want to hold him to that commitment and we hope he follows through with the commitment that he made in Singapore. But if he doesn't, we have other tools in the tool kit as the United States and we'll use those as necessary."
North Korea promised to deliver a "Christmas gift" if the U.S. didn't provide concessions in the negotiations, such as sanctions relief, over the country's nuclear program. No tests were conducted by North Korea since Christmas, however, the U.S. has remained on guard in the days following the holiday. The administration has already pre-approved several military show-of-force options that could be used should North Korea engage in any kind of provocative actions, such as a missile launch or test, CNN reported.
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