-Targets United States

-U.S spokeswoman warns North North Korea

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North Korea Musudan missile

AGAIN, NORTH KOREA FIRES BALLISTIC MISSILES.  In possible preparation for the celebration of the birthday of the country’s late founder on Friday, North Korea has, today, deployed one or two middle-range ballistic missiles on its east coast.

According to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, a mobile launcher was spotted carrying up to two Musudan missiles on Thursday following North Korea’s fourth nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch the next month, which attracted fresh UN sanctions.

A number of nuclear analysts have said North Korea may choose to test-fire the Musudan in the near future as it tries to build an intercontinental ballistic missile designed to put the mainland United States within range.

Report made available by US intelligence estimates says North Korea’s ability to reach the United States is low, but its capabilities will increase, making continued investment in missile defense essential.

According to Al Jazeera, South Korea’s defense ministry spokesman, Moon Sang-gyun, declined to confirm the Yonhap report but said the military had been on high alert for any North Korean missile launch since its leader Kim Jong-un’s vow to conduct more tests.

Kim said in March his country would soon test a nuclear warhead and ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The United States, which has 28,000 troops stationed in South Korea, said it was aware of reports that North Korea was preparing to test intermediate-range missiles and was closely monitoring the Korean peninsula

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A United States spokeswoman had since warned the North Korean government to refrain from such acts.

Admiral Bill Gortney, the officer responsible for defending American airspace, told a US Senate hearing on Wednesday that he agreed with a South Korean assessment that North Korea was capable of putting a nuclear warhead on a medium-range missile that would reach all of South Korea and most of Japan.

The United States and South Korea began talks on the possible deployment of a new missile-defense system, the Terminal High Altitude Area defense (THAAD), after the latest North Korea nuclear and rocket tests.

North Korea, which regularly threatens to destroy South Korea and the US, often fires missiles during periods of tension in the region or when it comes under pressure to curb its defiance and abandon its weapon programmes.

In March, the North Korean government released a video depicting a nuclear attack on the US. The four-minute state media video – titled “Last Chance” – showed a digitally created scene of a missile being fired from a North Korean submarine and wiping out the US capital

South Korean analysts have said North Korea may choose to display a show of force ahead of an important congress in May, where it is expected to declare itself a nuclear power, or around the April 15 anniversary of the country.