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north korea guam strike


According to North Korean state media, supreme leader Kim Jong-un reviewed plans to fire missiles towards the US Pacific territory of Guam but will hold off.

Although prepared for “the enveloping fire at Guam”, North Korea said it would watch what “the foolish Yankees” do before taking a decision.

Last week’s threat against Guam escalated the sharp rhetoric being exchanged between the two sides.

This latest report points to a pause in the increasingly bitter war of words.

Meanwhile, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has urged the US not to launch an attack on the Korean peninsula without its consent, saying “no one may decide to take military action without the consent” of the South.

The KCNA report said Kim Jong-un “examined the plan for a long time” and discussed it with senior military officials.

Kim Jong-un was now merely waiting for orders “after rounding off the preparations for the enveloping fire at Guam”.

However, crucially, the report also said that Kim Jong-un would watch the US before making any decision, signaling an apparent deceleration in the provocative rhetoric.

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Correspondents say that after days of menacing threats it might seem that the North Korean leader could be in the mood to finally hit the pause button – but in a nation as secretive as North Korea, one can never be sure.

Analysts say it could simply mean North Korea is not fully ready to launch an attack on Guam, so it could just be buying more time.

South Korea and China – North Korea’s closest ally – have been urging calm and a renewed push for diplomatic resolutions.

On August 15, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the US should not act unilaterally. The two countries’ defense agreement states that they must “consult together” when either is threatened.

On August 14, China’s foreign ministry reiterated its “suspension for suspension proposal” where North Korea stops its missile tests in exchange for a freeze on military exercises by the US and South Korea.

Defense Secretary James Mattis earlier warned that any attack could quickly escalate into war, and if North Korea fired a missile towards Guam, “then it’s game on.”

He told reporters that the US military would defend the country “from any attack, at any time and from any quarter”.

James Mattis also sought to reassure residents of Guam, home to US military bases and about 160,000 people, that they were well-protected and if a missile was fired, “we’ll take it out”.


North Korea claims that a plan that could see it fire four missiles near the US territory of Guam will be ready in a matter of days.

According to state media, Hwasong-12 rockets would pass over Japan and land in the sea about 17 miles from Guam, if the plan was approved by Kim Jong-un.

North Korea denounced President Donald Trump’s warnings of “fire and fury” and said the US leader was “bereft of reason”.

The US has warned North Korea its actions could mean the “end of its regime”.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Pyongyang would be “grossly overmatched” in any war against the US and its allies.

North Korea first announced on August 9 that it had been drawing up plans for a missile strike against Guam, a Pacific island which is home to US military bases, strategic bombers and about 163,000 people.

Image source Wikimedia

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A later statement carried by state media said the North Korean military would “finally complete the plan” by mid-August and send it to leader Kim Jong-un for his approval.

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi [Kochi] Prefectures of Japan,” state news agency KCNA said, quoting army chief General Kim Rak Gyom.

“They will fly 3,356.7km for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30-40km away from Guam.”

The Hwasong missiles are North Korea’s domestically produced medium and long-range weapons.

The governor of Guam addressed North Korea’s new statement on August 10, telling Reuters that Pyongyang usually likes to be unpredictable and has fired surprise missiles in the past.

“They’re now telegraphing their punch, which means they don’t want to have any misunderstandings. I think that’s a position of fear,” said Governor Eddie Calvo.

President Trump boasted about America’s atomic arsenal earlier on August 9.

Tweeting from New Jersey where he is on holiday, President Trump said the US nuclear stockpile was “more powerful than ever before”.