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North Korea removes missiles from launch site

KCNA via EPA file

This October 2010 photo, released then by the North Korean Central News Agency, KCNA, shows two Musudan missiles in a military parade marking the 65th anniversary of the foundation of the Workers' Party of Korea in Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korea moved two Musudan missiles to a launch site on the country's east coast in early April.

North Korea has downgraded two Musudan missiles from launch-ready status and removed them from their launch site on the country's east coast, a senior U.S. official confirmed to NBC News.

Officials would not say where the missiles were moved, but earlier Monday Pentagon press secretary George Little said North Korea's rhetoric has been toned down in recent weeks, calling it a "provocation pause."

The Musudan missiles have a range of 1,900 to 2,200 miles, threatening not only South Korea but also Japan and American military bases on Guam. Testing the medium-range missile would have increased the already  high tensions between Washington and Pyongyang.

Last month, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a missile test would be a "huge mistake" and a "provocative and unwanted act."

North Korea's move comes just one day before President Barack Obama meets with South Korean President Park Guen-hye at the White House. The two will hold a joint press conference following a working lunch. U.S. officials have stated a firm commitment to protect South Korea as rhetoric increased from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un throughout the beginning months of 2013.  

Last week the Pentagon released a report to members of Congress stating that North Korea is getting closer to achieving its stated goal of developing a nuclear weapon capable of being delivered to the U.S. but gave no timetable when the weapon might be complete. 

Reuters contributed to this report.