The start of the year 2020—or, in North Korea, the year 109—is approaching and observers fear Kim Jong Un might be planning something big. According to North Korean state media, the dictator told a meeting of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee on Sunday that North Korea needs to "take positive and offensive measures" to "fully ensure the sovereignty and security of the country, as required by the present situation," the BBC reports. The AP notes that in the Korean-language report in state media, Kim's words were given as "active and offensive measures." The ominous-sounding "Christmas gift" Kim promised the US never materialized, but he has said the end of this year is the deadline for Washington to make major concessions in nuclear talks.
Analysts suspect Kim might use either the Central Committee meeting, which continues Monday, or his New Year's Day address to announce that he has decided to end the moratorium on nuclear and long-range missile tests. "By 'positive and offensive measures,' they might mean highly provocative action against the United States and also South Korea," Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, tells Reuters. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien said Sunday that the US has "many tools in its toolkit" to deal with a resumption of nuclear testing. If Kim "takes that approach we'll be extraordinarily disappointed and we'll demonstrate that disappointment," he said. (Read more Kim Jong Un stories.)