North Korean president Kim Jong-un reviewed plans to fire missiles towards the United States Pacific territory of Guam but will hold off.
Although prepared for the enveloping fire at Guam, the North said it would watch what the US will do before taking a decision.
South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in meanwhile 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 commander of North Korea’s strategic force was now merely waiting for orders after rounding off the preparations for the enveloping fire at Guam.
Analysts say it could simply mean Pyongyang 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 Tuesday South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the US should not act unilaterally on the Korean peninsula.
China’s foreign ministry on Monday 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.
The US Defence Secretary James Mattis earlier warned that any attack could quickly escalate into war, and if Pyongyang fired a missile towards Guam, then it’s game on.
Over the past year North Korea has stepped up its missile tests, despite repeated warnings from all quarters.
North Korea had already conducted five nuclear tests, and in July it launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles claiming it now had the ability to hit the US mainland, prompting UN to approve fresh economic sanctions against North Korea to pressure it into giving up its nuclear ambitions.