Nightly News   |  April 07, 2013

Tensions continue to rise between North and South Korea

North Korea released the dogs on South Korea’s defense minister in effigy Sunday, while the U.S. called off a missile test in California. NBC’s Jim Maceda reports.

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>>> still a lot of anxiety tonight over north korea as both the united states and china made moves today to reduce the tension over all the threats coming from that country. nbc's jim maceda watching it again tonight for us from south korea .

>> reporter: tim jong un's regime turning once again to its airways to make a point about its enemy to the south. north korean soldiers released their trained dogs on this effigy of south korea 's defense minister , a u.s. ally, says the commentary, who deserved to be chewed to death. but with tensions so high, it was south korea and the u.s. who tried to accommodate the erratic kim today. the pentagon canceled the test launch of a minute man long range ballistic missile in california, while in seoul, the top military commander postponed a trip to washington. the allies avoiding anything that might be misread. but the north koreans remain defiant and on track to test at least one of their own missiles with a range that could in theory reach guam in the pacific. some intelligence reports suggest kim will choose to launch before or on april 15th , the anniversary of kim 's grandfather, kim il -sung, the founder of the nation. missile is probably unarmed but even inn an accident could be catastrophic.

>> i could see a major war happening if the north koreans overplay their hand this time because the public in south korea , the united states , i think the whole region is fed up with this guy.

>> reporter: even china, north korea 's main ally, is losing patience. in a strong condemnation, the chinese government , without naming north korea , said it does not "allow trouble making on its own doorstep." and with secretary of state john kerry coming to korea later this week, some see a window for a joint diplomatic offensive on the north koreans . they're very difficult but i think we need a new negotiating track and i think the key is going to be the united states and china.

>> reporter: but others are mindful that when it comes to taming the hermit kingdom , diplomacy has never worked. south korean sources are saying they believe the north's missile test could happen as early as wednesday. this whole peninsula will be holding its breath. lester?

>> jim maceda in south korea for us tonight.