07 May, 2013
U.S. officials believe North Korea has removed two mid-range missiles from imminent-launch status, in an apparent further easing of tensions on the Korean peninsula.
Speaking anonymously late Monday, Washington defense officials said Pyongyang recently moved the two Musudan missiles from a launch site on the country's east coast. South Korean media are also reporting the move.
Washington had for weeks warned North Korea could launch the untested Musudan missiles, which have a range of up to 3,500 kilometers and could reach several U.S. targets in the region.
Daniel Russel, the White House Senior Director for Asian Affairs, says it is premature to celebrate the move as "good news," warning that U.S. officials cannot rule out a test.
North Korea has gradually reduced the intensity of its rhetoric, following weeks of threats of nuclear and conventional attacks against the U.S. and South Korea.
It also comes just before South Korean President Park Geun-hye meets Tuesday in Washington with U.S. President Barack Obama, for talks likely to focus on Pyongyang.
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