US official: North Korea ready to fire missile whenever (VIDEO)


A South Korean soldier stands on a military guard post near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) dividing the two Koreas in the border city of Paju on April 5, 2013. The United States said it was taking "all necessary precautions" after North Korea rang fresh alarms in an escalating crisis by moving a medium-range missile to its east coast. AFP PHOTO / JUNG YEON-JE (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)


Jung Yeon-je

An Obama administration official told CNN on Tuesday that the government believes North Korea is capable of firing ballistic missiles at any point, citing recent intelligence on seeming launch preparations. 

The news comes amid growing international concern over the standoff in the Koreas given Pyongyang's recent provocations toward South Korea, Japan, and US bases in the region. 

The CNN report could not be independently confirmed, but the top commander of US forces in the Pacific told lawmakers on Tuesday that the US military would be ready to intercept any potential strike, according to the LA Times

"We have a credible ability to defend the homeland, to defend Hawaii, to defend Guam, to defend our forward deployed forces, and to defend our allies," Navy Admiral Samuel J. Locklear told the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday, said the LA Times

Such reassurances are intended to address growing anxiety over the situation.  

United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Tuesday that the crisis there could become "uncontrollable" and said he intends talk to US President Barack Obama about it on Thursday. 

Communist North Korea's third nuclear test last month openly defied international sanctions, leaving world powers worried a missile strike is next on the agenda. 

Both Japan and the US activated anti-missile defense operations in the region recently, according to BBC.

Here's CNN's report on the latest developments: