President Trump said Wednesday that North Korea’s Kim Jong Un made a “very wise” decision in backing down on his threats of a missile attack on Guam, in the U.S. president’s first formal comments on the apparent de-escalation.
“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 Wednesday morning.
He commented a day after North Korean media reported the dictator had delayed a decision about whether to fire missiles toward Guam.
According to Reuters, Pyongyang state media arm KCNA reported that Kim made the comments during his first public appearance in nearly two weeks. In doing so, the North Korean leader also warned “that if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions on the Korean peninsula and in its vicinity, testing the self-restraint of the DPRK, the latter will make an important decision as it already declared.”
But tensions eased after Trump had warned of “fire and fury” if North Korea continued to threaten the U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also said any sign North Korea was attempting to fire a missile at the U.S. territory of Guam would amount to “game on.”
“It could escalate into war very quickly,” Mattis said. “…Yes, that’s called war, if they shoot at us.”
The latest uproar between Pyongyang and the rest of the world began following a stunning acceleration in North Korea’s nuke program. North Korea twice successfully tested an intercontinental ballistic missile in July, and dual reports last week – out of Japan and the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency – suggested North Korea had acquired the technology to miniaturize a nuclear weapon to fit on a missile.