White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Friday that the administration would "not be surprised" if North Korea launches another missile as part of its pattern of provocations, amid reports that the regime deployed mid-range missile launchers to its east coast.
The rhetoric continued to escalate, as Pyongyang reportedly warned foreign embassies Friday it cannot guarantee the safety of diplomats after April 10.
Carney suggested a missile test would not be unexpected.
"We've obviously seen the reports that North Korea may be making preparations to launch a missile, and we're monitoring this situation closely," he said. "And we would not be surprised to see them take such an action."
He added: "It would fit their current pattern of bellicose, unhelpful, unconstructive rhetoric and actions. We urge them to stop with the provocations."
South Korea said Thursday North Korea moved a missile with "considerable range" to its east coast after an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army warned the U.S. Wednesday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using "smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear" weapons.
Meanwhile, the United Kingdom foreign office confirmed in a statement Friday that North Korea asked a number of foreign embassies in Pyongyang to consider moving staff out since they could not assure their safety in the event of conflict.
"We are consulting international partners about these developments. No decisions have been taken, and we have no immediate plans to withdraw our Embassy," the UK foreign office statement said.
North Korea has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.