TODAY   |  April 10, 2013

South Korea, Japan gird against North Korea’s threats

As North Korea continues to threaten nuclear attack, the entire region is on edge, with South Korean troops guarding their borders and Japan engaging anti-missile systems around Tokyo. NBC’s Richard Engel reports.

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>>> a new warning today from u.s. ally south korea that the prospects for a missile launch by north korea are very high. nbc's chief foreign correspondent richard engel is in seoul, south korea with the latest. good morning, richard.

>> reporter: good morning, natalie. north korea 's launch window is now open. south korea says the launch could happen any time over the next five days, as north korea carries out a series of national celebrations, and every day now pyongyang is making new threats. at the dmz this morning, tensions high for weeks are starting to peak. south korean troops guard buildings that straddle the border. they're used for negotiations with pyongyang but are now empty. north korean soldier can be seen a few yards away until he notices us filming. american troops are here, too. they've been called into action for the north attack and today showed journalists around.

>> 1,000 meters from this monument --

>> reporter: the entire region is on edge. in japan anti-missile systems are around tokyo but in north korea , the government is showing its people blissfully dancing toward armageddon, thousands participated in a state sponsored mass waltz, even as the government said the situation is inching toward thermonuclear war. in south korea the president says she's exacerbated by the endless, vicious cycle. analysts here say north korea may be trying to deliberately drag this out. this is its moment, the time to show the world that it's armed and dangerous , more than just a small dictatorship locked away with sanctions and ignored. north korea is pushing tensions and its rhetoric to dangerous limits and could end up pushing the region over the edge . there is a growing expectation here that north korea could carry out a multiple launch, firing several missiles at once to increase its dramatic effect. natalie?

>> richard engel in seoul, south korea this morning, thank you.