Trump says North Korea's 'Christmas gift' could be a 'beautiful vase'

Access to the comments Comments
By Rachel Elbaum and Emma Thorne and Reuters  with NBC News World News
Image: Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla.   -   Copyright  Andrew Harnik

President Donald Trump said Tuesday that the "Christmas gift" that North Korea warned of earlier this month may end up being a "nice present" like a vase, rather than the missile test that many military experts expect.

The president also said in the press conference that a U.S.-China trade deal was done and "just being translated right now."

"Maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test. Right? I may get a vase, I may get a nice present from him, you don't know. You never know," the president jokingly told reporters after a Christmas Eve video conference with U.S. troops. Trump is spending the holidays in Florida.

North Korea warned the U.S. of a possible "Christmas gift" after its leader Kim Jong Un gave Washington until the end of the year to propose new concessions in talks over his country's nuclear arsenal and reducing tensions between the two nations.

North Korea accused the U.S. of trying to drag out denuclearization talks ahead of the U.S. presidential election next year and said it was "entirely up to the U.S. what Christmas gift it will select to get."

The U.S. Air Force's top general in the Asia-Pacific region said he believes that "gift" could be the test of a long-range ballistic missile.

Trump added that whatever the surprise, the U.S. would be able to deal with it "successfully."

"Let's see what happens. Everybody's got surprises for me but let's see what happens. I handle them as they come along," the president told reporters.

Last year, Trump and Kim held the first talks between the sitting leaders of the two nations. But the talks have since stalled, and North Korea has given the U.S. an ultimatum that if Washington does not make concessions by the end of this year, it will pursue an unspecified "new path."

On China trade talks with China, earlier this month Trump announced that Washington and Beijing had reached an agreement on phase one of a trade deal. That agreement would reduce some U.S. tariffs in exchange for more Chinese purchases of American farm products and other goods.

"We'll have a quicker signing because we want to get it done," he said on Tuesday.

Chinese officials were not immediately available to comment on Trump's statements about talks.