North Korea has said that it will hold off for now on a plan to fire four missiles into the waters near the U.S. territory of Guam.
After reviewing military plans, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un decided to wait “a little more” before acting on the plan, according to a Monday state media report.
Kim warned, however, that if the U.S. acts proactively, he may reconsider the decision.
Hours before the state media report, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. would be prepared to intercept any missile fired at the western Pacific island — and that the situation could escalate into war.
“We will defend the country from any attack at any time from any quarter,” Mattis said.
State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Tuesday that the U.S. is not yet open to diplomatic talks.
“Kim Jung-Un — we would like to have talks with him when the time is right — when they show that they’re serious — serious about a effort to move toward denuclearization. We have not seen that yet,” Nauert said.
The U.S. and South Korea kick off planned biannual military exercises next week. North Korea considers the exercises threatening and regularly expresses anger over them.