Washington (Reuters): US President Donald Trump on Wednesday praised North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a "wise" decision not to fire missiles towards the US territory of Guam , which has eased escalating tension between the two countries.

Reclusive North Korea has made no secret of its plan to develop a missile capable of firing a nuclear warhead at the United States to counter what it perceives as constant US 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 the Pacific island of Guam .

But North Korean media reported on Tuesday Kim had delayed the decision while he awaited to see what the United States did next.

"Kim Jong Un of North Korea made a very wise and well reasoned decision ," Trump wrote on Twitter.

"The alternative would have been both catastrophic and unacceptable!"

North Korea's threat to fire towards Guam had prompted Trump to say earlier that the US 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 UN Security Council resolutions.

The United States has been hoping China can press the North to rein in its weapons programs. The top US general reiterated that in talks in Beijing this week.

Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford told Fang Fenghui, chief of the Joint Staff Department of the People's Liberation Army, in Beijing that North Korea's weapons programs threatened the entire international community, including China.