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TODAY   |  April 05, 2013

North Korea moves 2 missiles to coastline

In the latest threat from the isolated country, North Korea has moved two missiles towards its coastline, but they are not believed to be capable of reaching the United States. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> korea, two missiles have been loaded on to mobile launchers and moved to the country's east coast . richard engel is in seoul once again for us this morning. richard, what can you tell us?

>> reporter: good morning, savannah. these reports are from south korean military sources that not one but two missiles have been moved by rail to the coast and are now on those launchers. after weeks of escalations and threats, north korea 's missiles may be ready to fire. south korean military sources say the north has moved two of what it appear to be musudan medium range missiles on to launchers. the missiles are not believed capable of carrying nuclear warheads . it's unclear if they're armed at all. estimated of a range of 2,000 miles perhaps more and could reach japan, south korea or guam, where the u.s. has military forces . the united states may try to shoot them down. the south korean sources said the missiles have been "hidden" perhaps to shield them from satellite view and suggested that a firing could come with little advanced warning. speculation in south korea is that the north may launch the missiles in a test fire, a show of force, on or around april 15th , the anniversary of the birth of north korea 's founder, kim il -sung. last year pyongyang tried to launch a crude satellite two days before the anniversary, but it crashed into the sea after 90 seconds. the mu sudan, if fired may do the same. countries are worried what might happen if they go off course.

>> richard on the one hand we hear from officials they don't really think at the end of the day north korea would strike, on the other hand we see day after day of more provocative threats from the north so what is the end game here?

>> reporter: there doesn't seem to be any intention by north korea to launch an all-out war. we haven't seen troop mobilization, all of the key north korean leaders are gathering often in the same building. in kim jong -un started disappearing, was no longer in site, no longer hanging around his other leaders that would be a more ominous sign. what is happening seems to be about messaging, the north korean leadership wants to show the world that it is a nuclear weapons state, it wants that respect and it wants the united states to feel that it can no longer threaten regime change. it wants to feel secure in the neighborhood, and that seems to be why it's making these overt threats.

>> a dangerous game to play. richard engel in seoul, thank