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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

North Korea Warns Foreigners to Evacuate South

RIA Novosti

13:24 09/04/2013

MOSCOW, April 9 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea released a new warning on Tuesday urging foreigners to evacuate neighboring South Korea over what it says is the rising risk of war on the peninsula.

North Korea's state news agency KCNA published a statement, citing Pyongyang's Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, saying the North does not want any foreigners to be harmed in South Korea in the event of a war and calling on all foreign organizations, companies and tourists to consider evacuation.

The Russian Embassy in Seoul said on Tuesday that Moscow was not yet planning to pull out its diplomats or evacuate citizens.

"We are working out our position on this issue. In our preliminary plan there is no indication or decision connected to an evacuation," Russia's press attaché in Seoul, Nikita Kharin, told RIA Novosti by phone on Tuesday.

Last week, North Korea advised foreign embassies in Pyongyang to consider pulling out due to the risk of a war in the region, but none of them did so. Earlier on Tuesday, some 53,000 North Korean workers reportedly failed to turn up at work at the Kaesong Industrial Complex operated jointly with South Korea, effectively stopping production at one of the few remaining joint cooperation projects between Seoul and Pyongyang.

Pyongyang's latest announcement comes after months of mounting tension, culminating in North Korea's threat last week to attack the South and the United States.

Pyongyang has recently moved two intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of striking the US Pacific territory of Guam onto mobile launchers, following international sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to a long-range rocket launch in December, which world powers condemned as a ballistic missile test. North Korea responded by carrying out a third nuclear test in February, which was followed by more sanctions.

North Korea remains technically at war with the South since an armistice was signed after the Korean War in 1953. The United States has maintained a garrison in South Korea ever since.

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