Nightly News   |  April 06, 2013

What will North Korea do next?

North Korea is rallying its citizens onto a war footing amid a barrage of threats against the U.S. and South Korea. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

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>>> good evening. tonight north korea is rallying its citizens onto a war footage amid a barrage of threats against the u.s. and south korea . right now u.s. officials with one eye warily trained on the north's military movements, trying to figure out a way to dial back the tension. north yokorea has a history of threatening the west, but now with joint military south korea exercises, has taken things to a dangerous new level. we'll get washington's reaction in a moment, but first to seoul and nbc's jim asada with the latest there. jim?

>> reporter: hi, lester. it seems like every day this week, north korea took another step toward war, but today the peninsula was strangely quiet, as if both sides were taking a breather and wondering what to do next. kim jong -un, the man who idolizes michael jordan and collects his sneakers is showing the world he can lead the world to war as well. once again they filled the airways with kim, the supreme leader , a before adoring crowds and citizens. at times honing his own shooting skills, and on one occasion telling the people they must guarantee the quality of their weapons to ensure a preemptive attack on the enemy. after weeks of tensions, the two koreans seemed on a knife's edge. the north with at least two missiles locked on their anchors ready to go as far as guam but wait to be truly tested skpchlt in the sea, south korea tracks its every move. the border has been closed for days, leaving south korean tourists unail to cross and fearing how things will turn out. i feel so worried, she says. and my children do as well. but just as this war of words risks becoming a real battle, the u.s. and north korea seemed to step back from the brink. the u.s. stopped parading american firepower after the show of force showed pyongyang dialing back the tension. and there were no new threats from kim today. in seoul the talk was about diplomacy. with secretary of state john kerry looking for answers on a visit next week, some american analysts say there is a window of opportunity to deal with the young north korean dictator.

>> he's a kid. we need to get to know who he is, and through dialogue and engagement, we need to change him, to some extent, if we have to.

>> reporter: that is, if we don't go to war with him first. it seems very likely now that in the days ahead, north korea will fire those two mid-range missiles, most probably as a test, not as an attack, but that will spike emotions and tension across the region once again. lester?