Published: Sun, August 20, 2017
Health | By Jay Jacobs

Trump's tough stance led Kim to back down

The latest statement by Kim Jong-un signalling a pause in Pyongyang's war of words with Washington has given the United States a window of a few days to negotiate a way of defusing a unsafe standoff.

But he warned the Americans that "he could still order a missile launch aimed at the seas around Guam if the USA carried out further provocations", The Guardian reports.

"I think highly of President Trump's commitment toward the security of allies", said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after a 30-minute phone call with the USA leader, the ninth time the two have spoken by telephone since Mr Trump was inaugurated in January.

North Korean media reported on Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had delayed the decision on firing four missiles towards Guam, a U.S. territory home to a vital air base and Navy facility, while he waited to see what the United States did next.

Change comes following rumors of secret negotiations between US and North KoreaThe number of US troops participating in this year's US-South Korea Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) joint exercise, which will start from August 21, has decreased in comparison to last year.

Moon said he thinks Trump's belligerent words are meant to show a strong resolve for pressuring the North and don't necessarily display the willingness for military strikes.

Washington has warned it is ready to use force if needed to stop North Korea's ballistic missile and nuclear programmes but that it prefers global diplomatic action.

Elected in May, Moon broke with nearly 10 years of conservative rule in South Korea that saw governments deepen the animosity toward the North.

The U.S and Japan, along with South Korea, have been conducting naval and air drills throughout the region for some time and much to the consternation of both the North and neighboring China.

"The US should think twice about the consequences", the statement said, before going on to describe the plans for the Guam missile launch. A North Korean missile could reach Japan in about 10 minutes. The statement does not explicitly link the two, and it is not attributed to Kim or a senior official, but just to KCNA. "We will defend the country, and that is what we discussed today", he said.

"It reinforces the images of the strides North Korea made in missile capability and how North Korea is undaunted by any challenges to its sovereignty." he said.

Gen. Dunford has been in Asia this week, visiting South Korea, Japan and China. That said, Pyongyang's recent intercontinental missile launches have prompted him to take a harder stance on the isolated regime.

"The US-Japan ministerial meeting is a reminder that each nation gains security in concert with other nations". This has led to speculation about whether the exercise itself has been scaled down. Trump calling the bilateral FTA with South Korea "a terrible deal" has ordered his trade representative to renegotiate some of the terms in the trade pact.

One possible deal could involve a quid pro quo.

The warning comes a day ahead of the start of the joint USA and South Korean Ulchi-Freedom Guardian military exercises, amid escalating tensions between the countries. South Korean President Moon would clearly agree with this assessment. But the signal being sent by Pyongyang is that while it is still prepared to carry out its Guam missile plan it has left the door clearly open for negotiations.

Also in North Korea's arsenal is the older Taepodong 2, a long range rocket thought to have similar range to the hwasong 14.

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