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World Watches North Korea, But No Missiles Yet

Deadline came and went, but US intel believes chances of test launch remain 'very high'

- Jon Queally, staff writer

A South Korean soldier sets up a barricade at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from South Korea, in Paju, north of Seoul April 8, 2013. (Credit: Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)Following weeks of growing tensions, Wednesday April 10 was the day officials in Pyongyang had threatened to test one or more of its Musudan ballistic missiles on the Korean Peninsula, stirring fears that war could break out between North Korea and South Korea.

On Tuesday, the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, a mouth-piece for North Korea (or Democratic People's Republic of Korea, DPRK), issued the following statement on Tuesday via state media outlet KCNA:

The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war due to the evermore undisguised hostile actions of the United States and the south Korean puppet warmongers and their moves for a war against the DPRK.

The prevailing situation is seriously affecting peace and security not only on the peninsula but in the rest of the Asia-Pacific.

But as Wednesday came and went in Seoul, there was no sign that missiles had been fired, despite movement in recent days on the nation's eastern coast. The KCNA website—often used to carry announcements from the DRPK and its leader Kim Jong-Un—was silent throughout the day.

As The Christian Science Monitor asksed as midnight approached, "Have North Korea’s heated rhetoric and threats been bluffs?" Their reporting continued:

“The general principle is to escalate tensions in order to later be able to negotiate from a position of strength,” says Leonid Petrov, a researcher in Korean studies at Australian National University.

Musudan missiles have a range of about 1,875 miles, meaning they could reach anywhere in South Korea, Japan, or the US territory of Guam.

But as the Musudan missiles have never been flight-tested by North Korea, their launch might be unlikely, as the North would be wary of the loss of face that would come with an unsuccessful launch attempt.

According to analysts, the raising of tensions may be a deliberate ploy to create an atmosphere of nervousness about North Korea’s next move and thereby strengthen Pyongyang’s hand when it comes time to negotiate next with the international community.

However, NBC reports that US officials were still on high alert, calling the chance of a launch 'very high.' Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski reports:

U.S. defense officials are "highly confident" that North Korea is planning the imminent launch of a medium-range missile, echoing warnings from South Korea that the probability of Pyongyang carrying out its threat is "very high."

The North has been threatening the United States and its "puppet" South Korea almost daily in recent weeks, and the Commander of U.S. Pacific Command told Congress on Tuesday that he could not recollect a more tense time in the region since the end of the Korean War.

World leaders have shown alarm at the prospects of a conflict. 

Twitter continues to monitor the latest updates and reactions:

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