|North Korean Leader, Kim Jong Un|
According to CNN, Two medium-range missiles have been loaded onto mobile launchers in North Korea and are ready to be launched, South Korea's semi-official Yonhap news agency reported Friday, citing military sources in Seoul.
A U.S. official with direct knowledge of the information told CNN on Thursday that missile and launch components had been moved to the east coast of North Korea in the "last few days."
The latest Yonhap report said the two missiles have now been hidden in an unidentified facility near the east coast.
In response, South Korea has sent Aegis destroyers equipped with advanced radar systems to both of its coasts, Yonhap said, citing navy sources.
The apparent deployment comes amid further threatening statements by North Korea and heightened tensions in the region -- a situation that "does not need to get hotter," a U.S. State Department spokeswoman said Thursday.
The move of the missile and launch equipment could mean that Pyongyang, which unleashed another round of scathing rhetoric Thursday accusing the United States of pushing the region to the "brink of war," may be planning a missile launch soon.
The components, the official said, are consistent with those of a Musudan missile, which has a 2,500-mile range, meaning it could threaten South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia.
The United States has been looking for a hidden North Korean east coast launch site or mobile launchers, a concern because a missile launched from the east coast would go over Japan, the official said.