The U.S. territory of Guam will not be enveloped in fire by North Korean missile attack -- for the time being, says North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Kim announced his decision on North Korean state media KCNA on Aug. 15, when he visited a military command post and reviewed a missile launch plan to hit Guam.
According to Reuters, the plan allegedly involves four missiles launching from North Korea's east coast toward Guam, passing over western Japan along the way. Photos released by KCNA appear to show Kim looking over the plan with military officers.
"[Kim] examined the [strike] plan for a long time and discussed it with the commanding officers in real earnest," CNN reported the KCNA release to have said.
"[Kim] 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 KCNA report read.
The DPRK stands for the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea, which celebrates its 70th anniversary of liberation from Japanese control along with its rival counterpart, South Korea, on Aug. 15.
South Korean president Moon Jae-in reasserted the southern half of the Korean peninsula's role in alleviating the U.S.-North Korean conflict.
"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. The government, by putting everything on the line, will block war by all means," Reuters quoted Moon as saying.
The U.S. and South Korea are scheduled to practice their annual 10 days of military drills known as the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian on Aug. 21. CNN reports that the drills, which highly upset North Koreans, are still scheduled to go ahead despite China's plea to do otherwise.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs told CNN that the "bottom line" of their position is for both sides to settle things diplomatically. They added that they hope both sides can "extinguish fire" through both their words and actions and "improve mutual trust" while moving toward an end goal of denuclearization.
On Aug. 14, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis affirmed the U.S. would be ready to defend Guam from a missile attack, adding that it would ultimately be up to President Donald Trump and Congress to officially declare war, CNN reports.
"The bottom line is we will defend the country from an attack, for us that's war, that's a wartime situation," Mattis said.
According to the Hong Kong Economic Journal, the KCNA report said that Kim could still launch an attack at any time on the U.S.
"If the planned fire of power demonstration is carried out as the US is going more reckless, it will be the most delightful historic moment when the Hwasong (the missile) artillerymen will wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks," the KCNA report stated.