Embassies staying put in North Korea despite tension

Last Updated: Sat, Apr 06, 2013 14:21 hrs

Pyongyang: No embassy in North Korea have moved out of the country after the nation warned the foreign diplomatic missions to leave Pyongyang city, media reports said on Saturday.

"We don't believe there's any foreign mission about to leave Pyongyang," South Korea's Yonhap news agency said quoting a South Korean government official.

"Most foreign governments view the North Korean message as a way of ratcheting up tension on the Korean Peninsula," the official said.

Amid rising tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea on Friday asked Britain, Russia and other European nations to evacuate diplomatic staff as it could not assure the safety of embassies in Pyongyang city after next Wednesday.

Britain on Friday said the country has no 'immediate' plan to shut the embassy in North Korea.

"Earlier today, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed a number of Embassies of foreign countries in Pyongyang, including the British Embassy, and representatives of international organisations that they would be unable to guarantee the safety of Embassies and international organisations present in the country in the event of conflict," said a British Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson.

"They invited the Embassies and organisations present at the meeting to inform them by 10 April what assistance they would require from the DPRK should they wish to be evacuated from DPRK or to be relocated elsewhere," he said.

"We are consulting international partners about these developments. No decisions have been taken, and we have no immediate plans to withdraw our Embassy," he said.

Speaking on the raising tension in the Korean peninsula, he said: "In recent weeks, the North Korean Government has raised tensions on the Korean peninsula and the wider region through a series of public statements and other provocations. We condemn this behaviour and urge the North Korean Government to work constructively with the international community, including over the presence of foreign Embassies."

Reacting to America's use of nuclear-capable B-2 bombers in joint South Korean military drills, North Korea last month threatened to attack the United States military bases in South Korea and Pacific and put its rocket units on standby.

During a meeting with top generals, North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong Un signed the plan on technical preparations of strategic rockets of the KPA (Korean People's Army), ordering them to be standby for fire so that they may strike any time the U.S. mainland, its military bases in the operational theaters in the Pacific, including Hawaii and Guam, and those in south Korea.

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