3 Apr 2013

US not convinced North Korea preparing for war

6:09 am on 3 April 2013

The United States says despite continuing rhetoric, there is no obvious indication that North Korea is preparing for war.

White House spokesperson Jay Carney says there is no evidence of troop movements or other significant preparations.

North Korea recently announced it is in a state of war with South Korea and has threatened the United States with a pre-emptive nuclear strike.

But Mr Carney says Pyongyang does not appear to be backing up its threats, the BBC reports.

"Despite the harsh rhetoric we're hearing from Pyongyang we are not seeing changes to the North Korean military posture, such as large-scale mobilisation and the positioning of forces."

However, the United States has positioned a destroyer capable of shooting down missiles near North Korea, in the latest military move amid a showdown with the communist state.

The USS Fitzgerald, which had sailed to South Korea as part of recent exercises, has been sent off the southwestern coast of the Korean peninsula instead of returning to its home port in Japan, a US defence official said on Monday.

The official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said that the shifting of the USS Fitzgerald was "a prudent move" meant to offer "greater missile defence options should that become necessary".