NORTH KOREAN state media reported on Tuesday that its leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing four missiles towards the Pacific United States territory of Guam.
Having inspected his army on Monday, Kim will reportedly watch the actions of President Donald Trump’s administration a while longer before making his decision on whether to follow through with a hostile missile launch, said the North’s KCNA news agency.
“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 [North Korea], the latter will make an important decision as it already declared,” said the KNCA report.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he agreed with President Donald Trump during a telephone call on Tuesday that their top priority on North Korea was to do what they could to halt its missile launches.
“Through a firm partnership between Japan and the US and cooperating with China, Russia and the international community we agreed that our priority was to work to ensure that North Korea doesn’t launch more missiles,” Abe told reporters after he spoke to Trump.
Pyongyang’s plans to fire missiles near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with US President Donald saying the American military was “locked and loaded” if North Korea acted unwisely.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday there would be no military action without Seoul’s consent and his government would do anything to prevent war.
“Military action on the Korean peninsula can only be decided by South Korea and no one else can decide to take military action without the consent of South Korea,” Moon said in a speech to commemorate the anniversary of the nation’s liberation from Japanese military rule in 1945.
“The government, putting everything on the line, will block war by all means,” Moon said.
The Liberation day holiday, a rare one celebrated by both North and South, will be followed next week by joint US-South Korean military drills sure to anger Pyongyang.
China, North Korea’s main ally and trading partner, has repeatedly urged Pyongyang to halt its weapons program and South Korea and the United States to stop military drills to lower tensions.
The state-run Global Times said on Tuesday that Seoul should play a buffer between the United States and North Korea to prevent a head-on confrontation.
“The drill will definitely provoke Pyongyang more, and Pyongyang is expected to make a more radical response,” the paper said in an editorial. “If South Korea really wants no war on the Korean Peninsula, it should try to stop this military exercise.”
Additional reporting from Reuters.