A few days ago, the U.S. signed phase one of a YUGE trade deal with China.

Now that the ink is dry, it might be good to check on China’s rogue puppet, North Korea. Perhaps there may be forward movement on peace deal negotiations that began in Singapore nearly two years ago.

This week, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea said he was “surprised” and “glad” that North Korea failed to deliver its threatened “Christmas gift.”

“You can say that I personally was surprised. But I’m glad also … there was no Christmas gift,” Ambassador Harry Harris told reporters in Seoul. “Washington was ready for any eventuality, and we were all glad that there was no ICBM test or nuclear test.”

“President Trump … is still confident that Kim Jong Un will meet the commitment that they both made together in Singapore,” Harris said. “We should focus on President Trump’s view that there is room for discussion here.”

Meanwhile, Trump said that he views the on-again, off-again nuclear talks with North Korea as a “beautiful game of chess.”

Trump made the remark during a White House signing ceremony for a phase-one trade deal between the United States and China, giving Beijing credit for “helping us with North Korea.”

“China is helping us with a lot of the things that they can be helping us with, which you don’t see in a deal, but they have been very, very helpful with respect to Kim Jong-un, who has great respect for President Xi,” Trump said, referring respectively to North Korea’s leader and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He continued: “It’s all a very, very beautiful game of chess, or game of poker, or ― I can’t use the word checkers because it’s far greater than any checker game that I’ve ever seen, but it’s a very beautiful mosaic.”

Recently, the Trump administration reached out to North Korea in hopes of resuming denuclearization talks, a report said.

National security adviser Robert O’Brien told Axios that the administration “reached out to the North Koreans and let them know that we would like to continue the negotiations in Stockholm that were last undertaken in early October.”

“We’ve been letting them know, through various channels, that we would like to get those [negotiations] back on track and to implement Chairman Kim’s commitment to denuclearization,” O’Brien told the outlet.

How has North Korea responded? It has just replaced its Foreign Minister.

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho has been replaced, Seoul-based NK News reported on Saturday.

The usually well-informed outlet, citing multiple unnamed sources in Pyongyang, said Ri would be replaced by Ri Son Gwon, the former chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country (CPRC), who played a prominent role in inter-Korean talks in early 2018.

North Korea news said the move, of which there has been no mention in official North Korean media, was part of a major political reshuffle that could have a significant impact on the country’s diplomatic stance. The outlet said it would likely be confirmed on or before Thursday, when an event for resident diplomats is scheduled in Pyongyang.

And there has also been a bit of sword rattling.

North Korea leader Kim Jong-un warned the United States to prepare for retaliation against crippling economic sanctions as he announced Pyongyang developed a new secret weapon. Former CIA North Korea analyst Soo Kim told Express.co.uk Kim’s warning is a “credible threat” not only against the United States because of the confidence shown in his menacing message.

Ms Kim said: “There’s definitely movement, the testing results definitely show that they have advanced pretty remarkably within a short span of time.

So if this is chess, it looks like the pieces are all the same . . . just moved around the board a bit.

 

 
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