Country Reports

In December 2019, tensions increased on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea’s self-imposed year-end deadline approached. North Korea conducted two rocket engine tests at Tongchang-ri to pressure the US while Kim signaled through his horseback ride at Mount Paektu that he may unveil his “new path.” In response, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting to discuss North Korea’s provocation. China and Russia used the opportunity to propose the easing of sanctions in order to keep the momentum going for US-North Korea talks. Two days before Christmas, Moon Jae-in held a summit with Xi Jinping ahead of the China-Japan-ROK trilateral summit and the two leaders sent a unified signal for North Korea to return to the negotiating table with the US. Christmas day passed with no signs of a “gift,” and Trump continued to downplay the threat, suggesting that it could be “a beautiful vase.”

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