WASHINGTON — North Korea and the Trump administration have stepped back from the belligerent threats of the past week, raising hopes that diplomacy might replace brinksmanship.
Even so, progress on that front anytime soon is unlikely, foreign policy experts caution.
“For the time being, we're at a standoff with the North Koreans,” said Robert Einhorn, a former State Department special adviser on arms control and nonproliferation.
North Korea said its leader, Kim Jong Un, postponed a plan to shoot missiles near the U.S. territory of Guam in the western Pacific, saying he would watch “stupid American behavior” before making a decision.
Kim Jong Un's retreat from imminent military confrontation followed remarks by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and other administration officials saying that their focus is on diplomacy to address North Korea's nuclear program — although the U.S. military is prepared to respond to any provocation.
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