North Korea has reached the point where they think that just to threaten to attack Guam will change the direction of US policy and get the US to apologize and perhaps end the embargo. At the same time the NK’s are saying how foolish the US is proceed on the course it is. This is a paradox, the North in the first place is expecting a rational reaction (appeasement) while saying how foolish the US is, which recognizes what the NK’s consider irrational behavior.
All the while North Korea is painting itself into a corner where you go so far with threat that even if you don’t mean it you have to do it to maintain credibility. At that point, attacking Guam, the NK’s have to wonder, will the US retaliate with conventional or nuclear weapons?
As for solving the Gordian knot, that is China’s problem. If they hadn’t supported NK in the Korean War, there wouldn’t be any NK today. And ever since the Korean War, China has used NK as a proxy to goad the US into spending it’s treasure while the Chinese just sat back and built up their treasure. It is a very old principle of how to bleed your enemy into losing without a shout being fired.
An important question for China is, will the NK’s turn on them? Russia is cozying up to NK now and undermining Chinese influence, which the Chinese cannot like. They would have Russia to the north of China and a Russian client state to the south with NK. China is very sensitive about their borders.
What can China do? A “shock and awe” attack on NK – they have been building up troops on the China/NK border – and eliminate the NK state. Then to buy goodwill with the international community, China lets the Koreas unify with the understanding that above the 38th parallel. Korea would be a de-militarized zone except for the equivalent of a “national guard” for civil order, rescue and humanitarian services.
The Chinese have to be mindful of any radioactive fallout, with prevailing winds, would blow from NK right into the heart of China. For America, that would be, in diplomatic speak, “oops”. But karma is like that