North Korea Delays Planned Missile Launches as South Korea Pushes for Control

North Korean state media released photos of Kim Jong Un reviewing military documents. Korean Central News Agency photo.

North Korea is holding off on announced plans to test fire missiles into international waters near Guam, that country’s leader Kim Jong Un said while inspecting the North’s army on Tuesday.

Kim’s comments come as South Korean President Moon Jae-in, in a national address on Liberation Day, said he will do all he can to avoid war, and that any military action must be approved by his government.

“War must never break out again on the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said, according to the Korea Herald. “Without the consent of the Republic of Korea, no country can determine to take military action.”

Moon had met Monday with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, who said the US military’s top priority is supporting diplomatic and economic efforts to avoid conflict. However, the US military is preparing options against North Korea if needed.

North Korean state media reported Tuesday that Kim had inspected the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People’s Army, where he heard plans for “enveloping fire at Guam.” However, he held off on these plans and said he would “watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees,” according to state-run media.

Pictures of the event showed Kim in a command room, with a picture of the flight line and apron of Andersen AFB, Guam, in clear view.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, speaking with reporters on Monday, said the US would know within seconds where a North Korean missile is going. If that is determined, “it could escalate into war very quickly. … That’s called war, if they shoot at us.”