DPRK holds off on Guam plan; U.S. says it can intercept missile

World Today

FILE – In this April 15, 2017, file photo, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un waves during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea said Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017 that leader Kim Jong Un was briefed on his military’s plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam as part of an effort to create “enveloping fire” near the U.S. military hub in the Pacific. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s leader has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards the U.S. territory of Guam while he watches the actions of the United States a little longer, the DPRK state media said on Tuesday, as Washington warned it would take out any missile heading for the Pacific island.

Pyongyang’s detailed plans to land four missiles near Guam prompted a surge in tensions in the region last week, with U.S. President Donald Trump warning he would unleash “fire and fury” on the DPRK if it threatened the United States.

In his first public appearance in about two weeks, Kim Jong Un inspected the command of the DPRK’s army on Monday, examining the plan for a long time and discussing it with army officers, the official KCNA said in a report.

“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,” the report said.

“The United States, which was the first to bring numerous strategic nuclear equipment near us, should first make the right decision and show through actions if they wish to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent a dangerous military clash,” Kim was cited as saying in the report by KCNA.

U.S. officials and South Korea’s president in recent days have played down the risk of an imminent conflict while stressing their preparedness to respond militarily to any attack from the DPRK.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said on Monday the U.S. military would intercept a missile fired by DPRK if it was headed to Guam.

Mattis told reporters that the U.S. military would know the trajectory of a missile within moments and would “take it out” if it looked like it would hit the U.S. Pacific territory.

“The bottom line is, we will defend the country from an attack; for us (U.S. military) that is war,” Mattis said.

Story by Reuters