It is being reported that the US flew four surveillance planes over the Korean Peninsula, scanning for signs of the “Christmas gift” North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un hinted he would send this year.

The four American aircraft — an RC-135W Rivet Joint, an E-8C, an RQ-4 Global Hawk and an RC-135S Cobra Ball — were believed to have carried out missions near the peninsula between Tuesday and early Wednesday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday, citing Aircraft Spots.

The RC-135W and the E-8C flew at 31,000 feet, while the Global Hawk was spotted at 53,000 feet, according to the aviation tracking service Aircraft. Meanwhile, the RC-135S took off from Japan’s Kadena Air Base and conducted missions over the East Sea, according to the tracker. A KC-135R refueling aircraft also flew over the East Sea.

President Donald Trump, on the other hand, seemed nonplussed by the seeming threat and joked about other gift possibilities.

Trump, speaking to reporters after finishing a Christmas Eve video call with U.S. troops from his Palm Beach club, Mar-a-Lago, joked about the nuclear-armed dictatorship’s rhetoric even with the threat of a long-range missile test looming over the apparent tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said when asked what he would do if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un does decide to test a new long-range projectile.

“Maybe it’s a nice present. Maybe it’s a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test,” he said. “I may get a vase. I may get a nice present from him. You don’t know. You never know.”

Tyler Durden of Zerohedge reported that a Japanese news agency had erroneously reported that North Korea had launched the seemingly promised Christmas missile, but later admitted it was #FakeNews. However, in reality, the Japanese are taking the North Korean threats seriously.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces will have two Aegis-equipped ships conducting surveillance in the Sea of Japan and East China Sea, anticipating missile tests by North Korea around the new year.

The Japanese government, which made the decision on Friday, is believed to have deployed one such vessel in November. The U.S.-developed Aegis system uses radar to track and intercept missiles.

Pyongyang has unilaterally set a year-end deadline for nuclear talks with the U.S., suggesting that it would resume testing of ICBMs if no sanction-ending agreement could be reached.

If on the off-chance another Trump-Kim summit does occur I wouldn’t be surprised if the North Korean leader gifted the President a vase. And that is as close as I will come to making any prediction about the status of US and North Korean relations in 2020.

 
 
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