(CNN/WSYR-TV) -- The U.S. is stepping up its military might, moving at least one warship closer to the North Korean coastline. The move follows weeks of belligerent rhetoric from North Korea, including threats to use nuclear weapons.
The U.S. Navy is moving a warship closer to the North Korean coastline. It’s also sending a sea-based radar platform. The worry: North Korea may be planning more ballistic missile test launches.
U.S. officials say a missile called the Musudan might be fired in the coming weeks. With a 2,500 mile range it threatens South Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia – if fired and headed for land, the Navy ship would then try to shoot it down.
The ship, along with two F-22 fighter jets and B-2 bombers are Washington’s latest moves on the chessboard to challenge a North Korean provocation. The U.S. strategy “is about showing the South Koreans and our friends in the region that we are ready to protect them in the face of any threat,” said Pentagon spokesperson George Little.
There are new images of Kim Jung Un looking ready for war, but is that his goal?
"I would reiterate that we haven't seen action to back up the rhetoric in the sense that we have not seen significant changes as I said in the North in terms of mobilizations and repositioning of forces," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
But analysts say that’s small comfort.
"This new leadership that is very unpredictable…that will fire off a missile then at the same time sit down with Dennis Rodman and say that he wants Obama to call him," said Victor Cha with the
Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Cha says North Korea’s recent successful missile and nuclear tests played perhaps in the regime’s ultimate goal to not give up its weapons crown jewels.
"You can't put it past them the idea that they are also trying to establish a new equilibrium in which they are accepted as a nuclear weapons state," Cha continued.
In fact, that North Korean nuclear weapons test now looks like it was more advanced than initially thought.
Administration officials say there were almost no radioactive emissions, an indication it was buried deep underground and shielded so the US would not figure out key details of the test.
Over the weekend, North Korea declared it had entered a "state of war" with the South and labeled the U.S. mainland a "boiled pumpkin."