North Korea says it's up to US to choose 'Christmas gift'

Seoul: North Korea on Tuesday repeated its assertions that the Trump administration is running out of time to salvage nuclear negotiations, saying it's entirely up to the United States to choose what "Christmas gift" it gets from the North.

The statement, attributed to a senior diplomat, came as North Korea continues to dial up pressure on Washington and Seoul ahead of leader Kim Jong Un's end-of-year deadline for the US to offer mutually acceptable terms for a deal.

Negotiations have faltered since a February summit between Kim and President Donald Trump broke down after the U.S. rejected North Korean demands for broad sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities.

Working-level talks held in Sweden in October broke down over what the North Koreans described as the Americans' "old stance and attitude." Ri Thae Song, a vice foreign minister handling U.S. affairs, accused Washington of repeating talk offers aimed at buying time without offering real solutions. In comments reported by state media, Ri reiterated earlier North Korean statements that the country has no intention to continue the nuclear diplomacy unless it gets something substantial in return. "The dialogue touted by the U.S. is, in essence, nothing but a foolish trick hatched to keep the DPRK bound to dialogue and use it in favor of the political situation and election in the U.S.," Ri said.

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