While global stock markets breathed a sigh of dip-buying relief today that the world did not end, North Korea just ratcheted up the rhetoric one more time with state media reporting the North Korean leader is "being briefed on the Guam attack plan" today, adding that "if a second Korean War breaks out, it would inevitably be a nuclear war."
According to the state run KCNA news agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "examined the plan for a long time" on Monday during his inspection to the command of the Strategic Force. North Korea said last week that it will finalize by mid-August its detailed plan to fire four intermediate-range ballistic missiles around Guam and report it to its leader for approval.
As KCNA notes, the North Korean leader received a report from his army on its plans to strike the area around Guam and said "he will watch the actions of the United States for a while longer before making a decision."
According to the WSJ interpretation of this oddly-worded report, the "North Korean leader has decided not to launch a threatened missile attack on Guam" but warned that he could change his mind “if the Yankees persist in their extremely dangerous reckless actions.”
As a result, the report "could help dial back tensions that had spiraled last week following an exchange of threats between North Korea and U.S. President Donald Trump."
North Korean state media said in its report Tuesday that Mr. Kim had made his decision not to fire on Guam after visiting a military command post and examining a military plan presented to him by his senior officers.
Then again, the alternative to that wording would have been for KCNA to say that Kim had decided to launch an attack on Guam, forcing him to do so, which would hardly have achieved any desired outcome.
In any case, trading desks quickly absorbed the WSJ's interpretation of the KCNA announement as suggestive of conflict de-escalation, and have sent the USDJPY surging by 50 pips in a broad risk-on, stop hunt triggering move, which has also sent gold sliding.
Also, while Kim said he had decided not to launch the attack on Guam "yet", he advised the U.S. “to take into full account” whether the current standoff was to its benefit. He also said it was incumbent on the U.S. to “stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer."
Yet Kim ultimately left the ball in Trump's court, saying "the United States should first make the right decision and show through actions if they wish to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and prevent a dangerous military clash," Kim was quoted by KCNA.
Finally, the report contained the usual dose of pleasantries: Kim said 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 [North] will make an important decision as it already declared." The N.Korean leader also added that the planned launch could still be carried out at any moment, and said that such a strike would be a “most delightful historic moment” that would “wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks.”
Full KCNA report:
Pyongyang, August 15 (KCNA) -- Respected Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un inspected the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) on Aug. 14.
He waved back to enthusiastically cheering service members and posed for a picture with them.
He went round historical mementoes and data displayed at the Kimilsungism-Kimjongilism Study Hall.
Going round them he looked back with deep emotion on the great leadership feats of the brilliant commanders of Mt. Paektu, recorded on every page of the history of the KPA Strategic Force displaying its might with the strength unprecedented in the world as a powerful strike service, symbolic of the dignity and power of Korea.
Then he listened to General Kim Rak Gyom's decision on the Strategic Force's plan for an enveloping fire at Guam at the command post. He examined the plan for a long time and discussed it with the commanding officers in real earnest.
He praised the KPA Strategic Force for drawing up a dose and careful plan as planned and intended by the Party and examined the firing preparations for power demonstration.
After listening to the commander of the Strategic Force that it is waiting for the order of the Party Central Committee after rounding off the preparations for the enveloping fire at Guam, he said with great satisfaction that the spirit of Hwasong artillerymen is very high and he was freshly determined, seeing by himself the combat preparedness and the sky-high spirit of the Hwasong artillerymen of the large combined unit.
He said that the U.S. imperialists caught the noose around their necks due to their reckless military confrontation racket. adding that he would watch a little more the foolish and stupid conduct of the Yankees spending a hard time of every minute of their miserable lot.
He said that he wants to advise the U.S., which is driving the situation on the Korean peninsula into the touch-and-go situation. running helter-skelter. to take into full account gains and losses with clear head whether the prevailing situation is more unfavorable for any party.
In order to defuse the tensions and prevent the dangerous military conflict on the Korean peninsula. it is necessary for the U.S. to make a proper option first and show it through action. as it committed provocations after introducing huge nuclear strategic equipment into the vicinity of the peninsula, he said. adding that the U.S. should stop at once arrogant provocations against the DPRK and unilateral demands and not provoke it any longer.
He said 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. warning the U.S. that it should think reasonably and judge properly not to suffer shame that it is hit by the DPRK again.
He said that if the planned fire of power demonstration is carried out as the U.S. is going more reckless, it will be the most delightful historic moment when the Hwasong artillerymen will wring the windpipes of the Yankees and point daggers at their necks, underlining the need to be always ready for launching to go into action anytime once our Party decides.
Looking round a military training school and gymnasium. he called for firmly establishing Juche in education and steadily improving the quality of military training and thus preparing all the artillerymen of the large combined units to be fighters capable of waging campaign of brains. who perfectly mastered the modern military science and technology, the enemy's changed war methods and Korean-style war methods against them.
He underscored the need to certainly establish the system of reeducating commanding officers and technicians of the Strategic Force in line with the modernization and upgrading of ballistic rockets.
Going round the supply service facilities of the large combined unit including the dining hall of sub-unit, he took warm care of the solders' life as their real father would do.
He enjoyed a performance given by the art squad of the large combined unit at the solders hall.
He expressed satisfaction over the good performance given by members of the art squad through numbers vividly representing the operational mission and features of the Strategic Force and desire, thoughts and feelings of the Hwasong artillerymen. and gave precious teathings for performance.
The Strategic Force has a very important position and duty in carrying out the strategic plans of the Workers' Party of Korea. he said, stressing the need for the Strategic Force to firmly establish the monolithic leadership system, command and management system of the Supreme Commander over the nuclear force and further complete the Juche-oriented rocket strike methods.
Giving teachings of great trust that he remains confident thanks to the KPA Strategic Force reliable treasured sword guaranteeing the everlasting future of the country and nation, he expressed expectation and belief that all the officers and men of the Strategic Force would bring about a fresh turn in rounding off combat preparations, bearing in mind the important mission they have assumed before the Party, the country and the people.
The officers and men of the KPA Strategic Force. who received great trust from him, were firmly determined to score the final victory in the standoff with the U.S. by scorching with super strong strike the targets in south Korea. Japan. operational area in the Pacific and the U.S. mainland. flying the sacred red flags of the Party and flags of the supreme commander at every matchless launching pad once he gives an order.
Separately, KCNA issued a report titled "The US Wants To Kill Itself"
The U.S. Defense Department on August 11 announced that the U.S.-south Korea joint military drill Ulchi Freedom Guardian would start on August 21 as scheduled.
It declared it would send nuclear carrier strike groups, nuclear strategic submarine and other war hardware to the Korean peninsula in advance and dispatch 12 F-16 fighters and huge armed forces to the U.S. bases in south Korea for the drill.
Shortly ago, the commander-in-chief of the U.S. forces and the south Korean chief executive had phone talks over the joint military drill.
It is clear what does the start of large nuclear war drill mean under the worst situation on the Korean peninsula.
No matter what rhetoric they let out about "annual, regular and defensive drills", they cannot cover up the danger of a war outbreak.
If any accidental case would be sparked, though unwanted, it would never avert a war.
What matters is that when a second Korean war breaks out, it would be a nuclear war.
The DPRK has already declared in the statement of its government that it would not hesitate to use any form of ultimate means.
The U.S. should think twice about the consequences.
The Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army announced that it would finally complete the plan for enveloping fire at Guam until mid August and report it to the commander-in-chief of the DPRK Nuclear Force and wait for his order.
The nuclear force of the DPRK is strong in its guts and no one can guess its muscle as the flight trajectory of medium-to-long ballistic rocket Hwasong-12, firing data and the correct hitting-point are made public at home and abroad.
Within three days after the publication of the statement of the DPRK government, nearly 3.5 million youth and students and working people volunteered to join or rejoin in the Korean People's Army. This fact clearly shows the will of the Korean people to finally conclude the standoff with U.S.
If the U.S. goes reckless by wielding a nuclear stick before its rival armed with nukes despite the repeated warnings of the DPRK, it would precipitate its self-destruction.
We are watching every move of the U.S.
And finally, here are the three dates when NKorea risk could spike:
- Tomorrow is the National Liberation Day of the Koreas (both North and South). In South Korea, markets are closed.
- August 21-31 is when South Korea and the US hold a joint annual military exercise. As we reported over the weekend, satellite photos suggest North Korea may be preparing a submarine launched ballistic missile test, as it did two days after the start of last year’s joint drill.
- September 9, the anniversary of the founding of North Korea: Last year North Korea conducted its fifth nuclear bomb test on this day.
We await President Trump's "Kelly-apporved" response.