Trump Welcomes North Korean Leader Kim’s ‘Wise Decision’ Not to Target Guam

Trump Welcomes North Korean Leader Kim’s ‘Wise Decision’ Not to Target Guam

The US territory of Guam in the Pacific is located about 3,400 kilometers (app. 2,120 miles) from North Korea. Map: US Department of Transportation via NPR

US President Donald Trump has declared that North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has made the right decision by not going ahead with a military plan to “envelop” the US Pacific territory of Guam with ballistic missile fire.

Trump’s remark came a day after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un decided to put on hold a ballistic missile strike “enveloping” the US Pacific island of Guam proposed by his military, according to the North Korean regime’s official news agency, KCNA.

The announcement comes a day after KCNA warned of the possibility of a nuclear war with the US that might be caused by accident during the upcoming US-South Korean military drills.

Last week, North Korea’s military announced it was working on a plan to “contain” the US air, naval, and missile bases on the Pacific island of Guam by firing four intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBMs) to “envelop” it.

In spite of the flaring tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, on Sunday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated there was no imminent threat of a nuclear war erupting between the United States and North Korea, although he did admit that the regime of Kim Jong-un’s arms programs were advancing rapidly.

US President Donald Trump has vowed an even tougher stance against the regime of North Korea, defending his “fire and fury” comment from last week.

At the end of last week, countries such as China and Germany called upon both the United States and North Korea to refrain from spiking tensions on the Korean Peninsula amid the fiery rhetoric coming from both sides.

US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster recently declared the United Stated was prepared to wage a “preventive war” against North Korea if that was to be deemed necessary – although the current deployment of the US aircraft carriers does not seem to bode a military operation.

At the end of July 2017, North Korea test-fired an improved intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), a Hwasong-14, that could strike the US mainland, purportedly, as far east as Chicago.

That was the second missile alleged to be an ICBM to be tested by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, after on July 4, 2017, it carried out a ballistic missile test claiming the rocket was the much coveted intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

US President Donald Trump stated on Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made a “wise” choice for refraining from making imminent threats against Washington, and the carrying out of an “enveloping” missile strike against the US territory of Guam proposed by North Korea’s military.

“Kim Jong-un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision. The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s remark came after Kim said on Tuesday that he would watch Washington’s behavior “a little more,” but would make an “important” decision if the US continued its “extremely dangerous reckless actions.”

While Kim’s announcement marked a retreat from North Korea’s fiery rhetoric from last week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson also kept up his conciliatory tone.

He said the United States continued to be interested in dialogue with North Korea, as the two sides appeared to tamp down escalating tensions over the regime’s nuclear and missile programs.

“We continue to be interested in finding a way to get to a dialogue but that’s up to him,” Tillerson told reporters at the State Department, referring to Kim Jong-un, after announcing the release of a new religious freedom report.

Meanwhile, South Korea’s Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon on Wednesday reacted negatively to calls for South Korea to possess nuclear weapons, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

He said the move would undermine Seoul’s calls for North Korea to denuclearize, trigger a nuclear arms race, and put the country under international sanctions.

Calls for nuclear armament have gained traction in South Korea as Pyongyang stepped up its nuclear and missile programs, with two nuclear tests last year, as well as a series of missile launches, including those capable of reaching the continental United States.

Reflecting such calls, the main opposition Liberty Korea Party adopted a demand on Wednesday for the redeployment of US tactical nuclear arms as its official party line during a general meeting of its lawmakers.

“If we say we’re going to have nuclear weapons while putting forward the goal of North Korea’s denuclearization, it will end up undermining the justification of our demand for denuclearization and further accelerating nuclear armament in Northeast Asia,” Lee said in an interview with YTN television.

“It will also mean that we have to be prepared for international economic sanctions. This is not an issue that we can make a hasty decision on,” he said.

But Lee then said the country should consider introducing nuclear-powered submarines to cope with growing threats from the North.

“Nuclear submarines are another issue. It’s time for us to think about introducing nuclear submarines,” he stated.

Lee also said that South Korea and the US were on the same page on the North Korea problem, rejecting concerns about so-called “Korea passing” – the belief that South Korea might be sidelined by the US and other key players in efforts to resolve the crisis.

South Korea’s Prime Minister did acknowledge the situation on the Korean Peninsula was very serious.

“It’s true that the situation is very grave. This is a situation that was unimaginable in the past,” he said.

“It won’t be easy for Chairman Kim Jong-un to go ahead and play with fire if he’s eager to keep the existence of the system he leads. The US can prepare military options, but it won’t be an easy decision to put them into action,” Lee elaborated.


Ivan Dikov, the founder of, is the author of the book “Madman Diplomacy: Is North Korea Trying to Bring Back Regime Change?“, among other books.