In a rare moment of deceleration in the Korean peninsula tensions, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un put the missile strike on Guam on hold but warned the US against "reckless" provocations. Early on Tuesday, 15 August, the hermit kingdom's state media said Kim has decided to wait for little more time before he takes a final call on mounting a strike on the US island territory, which hosts key air and naval bases.

This comes shortly after it was revealed that Kim was briefed by North Korean forces on the detailed plan outlining an attack on Guam, following which the US warned this could escalate the situation into a full-fledged war. The reclusive regime had earlier said it was finalising plans to fire four long-range missiles at Guam.

The latest statement released by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Kim had examined and discussed the attacks plans with the country's top military leadership. The dispatch said Kim was happy with the preparations but added he wanted to watch out for any more "foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees" before he gives the final green signal.

The rogue state's detailed plan on an attack against Guam, home to about 160,000 people, ratcheted up tensions in the region with US President Donald Trump promising "fire and fury".

"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 Democratic People's Republic of Korea – North Korea's official name], the latter will make an important decision as it already declared, warning the US that it should think reasonably and judge properly not to suffer shame that it is hit by the DPRK again," said Kim, according to the KCNA.

Technically, this means the North is not gearing up to launch its missiles on Guam but the unpredictable nation and its supreme leadership are known to carry out belligerent acts in the past. The North's actions would also depend on how the US and South Korea carry out their scheduled annual drills later in August.

North Korea Guam strike threat
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un claps with military officers at the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency KCNA via Reuters