WASHINGTON – The Pentagon on Thursday confirmed that no missile had been launched from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), after Japan’s public broadcaster NHK falsely reported Pyongyang’s missile launch earlier in the day.
"The Pentagon is not tracking a launch of any type," a Pentagon spokesman told Xinhua in an email reply.
NHK reported earlier that the DPRK had fired a missile that fell about 2,000 kilometers off Hokkaido’s coast in Japan, but then it retracted the story as a false report.
Pyongyang had set its deadline for the denuclearization negotiations at the end of this year. It carried out two "important tests" at its Sohae Satellite Launching Ground on Dec 7 and Dec 13.
DPRK’s vice foreign minister Ri Thae-song warned in early December that Washington would soon need to decide what kind of "Christmas gift" it would like to receive from Pyongyang.
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday downplayed the significance of a possible "Christmas surprise" from Pyongyang, saying he would deal with it successfully.
"Everybody’s got surprises for me … I handle them as they come along," he said, adding that the DPRK might send him "a beautiful vase" instead of a missile test.
The denuclearization negotiation between Washington and Pyongyang has lost momentum since the impasse of the Hanoi Summit in late February and the unproductive working-level talks in Stockholm in October.
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