North Korea delays missile strike on Guam
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does, the North’s state media reported on Tuesday as the United States said any dialogue was up to Kim.
The United States and South Korea have prepared for more joint military drills, which has infuriated the North, and experts warned it could still go ahead with a provocative plan.
In his first public appearance in about two weeks, Kim inspected the command of the North’s army on Monday, examining a plan to fire four missiles aimed at landing near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, the official KCNA news agency reported.
“He said that if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the latter will make an important decision as it already declared,” KCNA said.
The DPRK stands for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
Pyongyang’s plans to fire missiles near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with U.S. President Donald Trump saying the U.S. military was “locked and loaded” if North Korea acted unwisely.
But U.S. officials have taken a gentler tone in recent days.
Asked by reporters on Tuesday about the North Korean delay, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said it was up to Kim to decide if he wants to talk to the United States.
“We continue to be interested in finding a way to get to dialogue but that’s up to him,” Tillerson told reporters.
In photos released with the KCNA report, Kim was seen holding a baton and pointing at a map showing a flight path for the missiles appearing to start from North Korea’s east coast, flying over Japan toward Guam. North Korea has often threatened to attack the United States and its bases and released similar photos in the past but never followed through.
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