US President Donald Trump has brushed off North Korea's warning of a "Christmas gift", saying the United States would "deal with it very successfully", amid concerns that Pyongyang might be preparing a long-range missile test.

Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be planning to give him "a nice present" such as a "beautiful vase" for Christmas rather than a missile launch when the president was asked how he would react to a long-range test.

The North has threatened to take unspecified action if sanctions are not eased by the end of the year, and speculation has centred on the possibility of a new missile test, possibly of an intercontinental ballistic variety capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

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The hermit kingdom has said that its "Christmas gift" to the United States will depend on Washington's actions.

Trump, who is in Florida for the holidays, had just finished thanking service members from each branch of the military via satellite when he was asked about North Korea.

He opted for a wait-and-see approach.

"Maybe it's a present where he sends me a beautiful vase as opposed to a missile test," Trump said.

"I may get a nice present from him. You don't know. You never know."

U.S. President Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo / AP
U.S. President Donald Trump with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Photo / AP

Nuclear talks between the US and North Korea have been stalled since a February summit between Trump and Kim fell apart.

A new satellite image of a factory where North Korea makes military equipment used to launch long-range missiles shows the construction of a new structure.

In New York, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric was asked whether Secretary-general Antonio Guterres had a message for Kim John Un on Christmas Eve regarding a "Christmas gift."


"Our message is to the leadership of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to work for peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to resume working-level talks with the United States. Diplomatic engagement is the only pathway to sustainable peace and complete denuclearisation and verifiable denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula," Dujarric said.

- AP