UK

North Korea Moves Missiles From East Coast, In 'Provocation Pause'

07/05/2013 07:40 BST

North Korea has removed two medium-range missiles from a launch site on its east coast, according to a US official.

It is the first indication Pyongyang may be winding down its bellicose posturing of recent months, a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that America did not believe the missiles had been moved to an alternative launch site.

However US official, Daniel Russel, the senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council said it would be "premature" to celebrate it as good news.

Pentagon spokesman George Little refused to confirm or deny that the missiles had been moved, but told reporters "what we have seen recently is a provocation pause".

US president Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Guen-hye are meeting at the White House on Tuesday, for a working lunch in which recent tensions in North Korea are likely come top of the menu.

After North Korea third nuclear test blast was conducted underground in February, the UN slapped the nation with fresh sanctions which were matched by increasingly aggressive rhetoric from Pyongyang, including threats to Washington and Seoul.

North Korea responded to the sanctions by “ending” the armistice with South Korea signed at the end of the 1953 conflict, shutting its shared border and closing its hotline with Seoul.

Most recently North Korea issued a series of “incomprehensible” demands as the conditions for it to move forward with talks to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Earlier in April the hermetic state published a statement via the official KCNA news agency, offering to talk with the US but only if the UN ends sanctions and the US and South Korea terminate joint military manoeuvres. It also demanded that Washington withdrew its nuclear arsenal from the region.

In the same month North Korea told the British Embassy in the country that the safety of its staff could not be guaranteed.

However the Foreign Office said there were no "immediate plans" to withdraw Embassy personnel.

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