North Korea backs off Guam missile threat

Remigio Civitarese
Agosto 16, 2017

It came amid a sharp rise in rhetoric between the U.S. and North Korea.

A United States military official told CNN they suspected North Korea was moving a missile launcher which could fire medium range ballistic missiles.

Kim Jong Un watching a military drill in April.

CNN is reporting that a senior U.S. defense official has told them that spy satellites have observed a mobile missile launcher capable of launching an intermediate range ballistic missile being moved in a way that leads the USA military to believe preparations are being made for a possible intermediate ballistic launch.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reviewed his military's plans to rain "an enveloping fire" around the US territory of Guam - but opted not to fire missiles at this time, according to state media.

Asian shares rose for a second day on Tuesday and the dollar firmed after Kim's comments further eased tension and prompted investors to move back into riskier assets after a sharp selloff last week.

Kim, who praised the army for drawing up a "close and careful plan", said he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision on whether to go ahead with missile launches toward the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, the report said.

"We stand ready to defend our nation", Mattis said, echoing his warning from Monday that if North Korea fired on United States territory it would be "game on".

Senior U.S. national security officials said Sunday that a military confrontation with North Korea's is not imminent, but they cautioned that the possibility of war is greater than it was a decade ago.

Kim discussed plans for Guam with his commanding officers during an inspection of military forces on Monday, the state-run Korean Central News Agency reported. "He's also said 'I'm not negotiating my way back to the negotiating table, ' and North Korea knows exactly what it has to do".

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 towards Guam. "Dunford told Moon everyone hopes to resolve the current situation without going to war", Park said. "We continue to be interested in trying to find a way to get to dialogue, but that's up to him", U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Washington on Tuesday. In 2013, the Army sent the THAAD missile defense system to Guam.

North Korea has previously threatened to fire four Hwasong-12 rockets to land in the sea 17 miles from Guam "by mid-August".

Meanwhile, China announced Monday it will cut off imports of North Korean coal, iron ore and other goods in three weeks under United Nations sanctions imposed over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

On Tuesday, North Korea is set to commemorate the Korean Peninsula's liberation from Japan at the end of World War II.

Trump has pushed China to pressure North Korea to halt a nuclear weapons program that is nearing the capability of targeting the United States. "He later added that the United States would "take it out" if the missile was determined to be headed for any USA territory", CNN quoted Mattis, as saying. "He encouraged strengthening trilateral cooperation between the U.S., (South Korea) and Japan", U.S. military spokesman Captain Darryn James said.

Its warning came after US President Donald Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury like the world has never seen" on the North, which launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles successfully last month.

Pyongyang has used detainees to extract concessions, including high-profile visitors from the United States, which has no formal diplomatic relations with North Korea.

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