The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, says he has seen no indication that North Korea will conduct a missile test this weekend, to coincide with the U.S. Independence Day celebration.
North Korea has marked American holidays in the past with a nuclear test and missile launches, and it has indicated it will conduct another long-range missile test soon.
But on his flight home from a trip to Europe, Admiral Mullen told reporters North Korean leader Kim Jung Il has given no particular signal that he will order the test this weekend.
"No indication, but he did not give us any indication before either," he said. "So, I think North Korea is fairly unpredictable in that regard. What I would hope is that the international community stays strong on these sanctions and that somehow a message gets to the leadership of North Korea that there has got to be a better path here."
The U.N. Security Council passed its strongest resolution yet against North Korea two weeks ago, condemning its nuclear test in May and ordering it to abandon its missile program. The resolution also authorized the inspection of ships suspected of carrying nuclear or missile supplies to or from North Korea.
The United States has put its missile defense system on alert, but Admiral Mullen says he has seen no sign in the past few days of any significant change in North Korean preparations for a launch.