Nightly News   |  April 05, 2013

North Korea to launch missiles in mid-April?

The missiles recently moved to the east coast of North Korea aren’t believed capable of carrying nuclear warheads and may not even be armed, however, Pyongyang has warned foreign diplomats to have evacuation plans ready. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> again tonight the situation with north korea gets our attention. they are now warning foreign diplomats to have a plan ready to evacuate their embassies as tensions between north and south remain extremely high with word of another missile thousand on the move. our chief foreign correspondent richard engel mon oh torg it all from seoul, south korea . richard, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. north korea got the world's attention by threatening nuclear war . now a clearer picture is appearing. what it may want the world to see. april in pyongyang is the rain season. north korea seems determined to celebrate it with an international is provocation. south korean military forces now say the north has moved not one but two musudan missiles like this one to the east coast , perhaps preparing for the launch. they say a firing, possibly toward japan or guam where the u.s. has troops could come with little warning. the missiles may not be armed at all. speculation about a launch centers on mid april. last april 11th , kim jong un came to power. april 15 is the 101 st birthday of north korea 's founder and kim jong un's grandfather. last april pyongyang tried to launch a satellite, but it crashed into the sea. the musudans, if fired, could do the same. today pyongyang cautioned foreign diplomats in north korea to have evacuation plans ready. saying it can't guarantee their safety after april 10th . the timing would also coincide with a visit by the u.s. secretary of state . secretary kerry comes to this region next week on a mission to defuse this crisis. people here say he should focus on china which they say coddles its unruly neighbor. for china it's a high stakes balancing act.

>> i think china does understand if north korea goes too far it's to their detriment because the japan-u.s. alliance and the south korea -u.s. alliance tightens even more.

>> reporter: the question may be whether anyone can control north korea . north korea could have a missile launch during the kerry visit on a key anniversary and while everyone is watching. there is a bit of showmanship here, brian. what if the u.s. tries to shoot it down? what if we miss?