Washington: U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday tweeted patting the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a "wise" decision not to fire missiles towards the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam, which has eased escalating tension between the two countries.
He added that, "The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"
Reclusive North Korea has made no secret of its plan to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the United States to counter what it perceives as constant U.S. threats of invasion.
Trump warned North Korea last week it would face "fire and fury" if it threatened the United States, prompting North Korea to say it was considering plans to fire missiles towards Guam.
But North Korean media reported Tuesday that Kim had delayed the decision while he waited to see what the United States did next. North Korea's threat to fire into the sea near Guam had prompted Trump to say earlier that the U.S. military was "locked and loaded" if North Korea acted unwisely.
North Korea has long ignored warnings from the West and from its lone major ally, China, to halt its nuclear and missile tests which it conducts in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions.
The United States has been hoping China can press the North to rein in its weapons programs, something the top U.S. general reiterated in talks in Beijing this week.
China and Japan respond
China has repeatedly called for all sides to exercise restraint and remain calm, and while it has signed up for tough U.N. sanctions on North Korea, it says the key to a resolution lies in Washington and Pyongyang talking to each other, rather than expecting China to do all the work.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said while everyone was concerned about the situation, Chinese pressure on North Korea had made him more upbeat.
At the same time, Japan conducted air manoeuvres with U.S. bombers southwest of the Korean peninsula Wednesday vouching for peace in the Indo-pacific.