North Korea has removed two missiles on the country’s coastline, reducing tensions on the Korean peninsula after weeks of heated rhetoric.
A US official confirmed the isolated state has withdrawn two Musudan missiles, each with a range of 4,000 kilometers, from a launch site on its east coast.
The removal of the missiles follows threats made last month, in which the hermit state threatened nuclear strikes and attacks on specific targets in the US and South Korea.
The missiles had been ready to launch at any moment, but North Korea had now “moved them”, confirmed an anonymous US defense official to the AFP news agency.
Pentagon spokesman George Little declined to comment directly on the missiles, but did tell reporters:
“What we have seen recently is a provocation pause. And we think that’s obviously beneficial to efforts to ensure we have peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.”
Tensions on the Korean peninsula were ratcheted up earlier this year when the regime in Pyongyang issued a series of bellicose statements. As well as threats of nuclear strikes against South Korea and the US, North Korea closed down a factory complex run jointly with South Korea and restarted a cobwebbed nuclear reactor.
North Korea’s decision to remove its missiles from the coast fits with a now-familiar cycle. In the past, Pyongyang has deliberately stoked regional tensions and made demands of its perceived enemies before toning down its threatening stance.