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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 18 June 2018

Kim Jong-un puts Guam missile plan on hold

But the North Korean leader also warned that he would go ahead with the plans should Washington persist in their 'reckless actions'

North Korean leader Kim Jon-un at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on August 15, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jon-un at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by the Korean Central News Agency on August 15, 2017. KCNA/via Reuters

North Korea is holding off on plans to fire missiles towards Guam.

Leader Kim Jong-un appeared to be backing off from the escalating rhetoric with the United States on Tuesday when he said he would "watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" before executing any order.

However, he warned that he would go ahead with the plans should Washington persist in their "reckless actions".

Analysts say Mr Kim's latest comments open the way to de-escalating the growing crisis fuelled by a war of words between president Donald Trump and Pyongyang.

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North Korea has threatened to fire a volley of four missiles over Japan towards Guam - a US territory which hosts two large military bases and is home to more than 6,000 military personnel.

Mr Kim was briefed on the "plan for an enveloping fire at Guam" during an inspection on Monday of the strategic force command in charge of the nuclear-armed state's missile units, the official KCNA news agency reported.

If they "persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean peninsula," then North Korea would take action "as already declared" he was quoted as saying.

"In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean peninsula, it is necessary for the US to make a proper option first," he added.

* reporting from the Agence France-Presse