News24

North Korea advises diplomats to leave

2013-04-06 08:15

Seoul - Foreign diplomats in Pyongyang huddled on Saturday to discuss a North Korean evacuation advisory as concerns grew that the isolated state was preparing a missile launch at a time of soaring nuclear tensions.

The heads of all EU missions had agreed to meet to hammer out a common position after Pyongyang warned embassies it would be unable to guarantee their safety if a conflict broke out and that they should consider leaving.

Most of their governments made it clear they had no plans to withdraw any personnel, and some suggested the advisory was a ruse to fuel growing global anxiety over the current crisis on the Korean peninsula.

"We believe they have taken this step as part of their country's rhetoric that the US poses a threat to them," a British Foreign Office spokesperson said in London.

Missiles

The embassy warning coincided with reports that North Korea had loaded two intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast.

"The North is apparently intent on firing the missiles without prior warning," the South's Yonhap news agency quoted a senior government official as saying.

They were reported to be Musudan missiles, which have never been tested, but are believed to have a range of around 3 000km, which could theoretically be pushed to 4 000km with a light payload.

That would cover any target in South Korea and Japan, and possibly even reach US military bases located on the Pacific island of Guam.

The White House said on Friday it "would not be surprised" by a missile test.

"We have seen them launch missiles in the past.... And it would fit their current pattern of bellicose, unhelpful and unconstructive rhetoric and actions," White House spokesperson Jay Carney said.

'Provocative act'

The Pentagon warned any such test would be "a provocative act", with spokesperson George Little urging Pyongyang to "follow international norms and abide by their commitments".

North Korea, incensed by UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, has issued a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks.

The North has no proven inter-continental ballistic missile capability that would enable it to strike more distant US targets, and many experts say it is unlikely it can even mount a nuclear warhead on a mid-range missile.

Nevertheless, the international community is becoming increasingly skittish that, with tensions showing no sign of de-escalating, there is a real risk of the situation spiralling out of control.

The latest expression of concern came from Communist icon Fidel Castro, who warned the danger of a nuclear conflict erupting was higher than it had been at any time since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis.

If war broke out on the Korean peninsula, "there would be a terrible slaughter of people", Castro wrote in a front-page article in Granma, the Cuban Communist Party's newspaper.

UN won't withdraw

The United Nations said it had no plans to pull staff out after the North Korean warning message to embassies and NGOs in Pyongyang.

Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said UN chief Ban Ki-moon was "studying the message," and added that UN staff "remain engaged in their humanitarian and developmental work" throughout North Korea.

According to the British Foreign office, embassies and organisations were told to inform the Pyongyang authorities by 10 April what assistance they would require should they wish to evacuate.

"Our understanding is that the North Koreans were asking whether embassies are intending to leave, rather than advising them to leave," the spokesperson said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow was consulting with China over the warning, as well as the United States and other members of the stalled six-party talks on North Korea.

In South Korea, a Navy official told Yonhap that two Aegis destroyers with advance radar systems had been deployed - one off the east coast and one off the west coast - to track any missile launch.

North Korea refused on Saturday to lift a ban on South Koreans accessing their companies in a joint industrial zone on the North side of the border.

Entry to the Seoul-funded Kaesong complex has been barred since Wednesday.

Comments
  • Linds Ron-House - 2013-04-06 08:34

    It is Saadi that the Korean peninsula is today the most dangerous place to be. However, I think the young North Korean president is desperate to stamp his authority and make a name for himself. I doubt he will actually strike any target. He will push his opponents back to the six party negotiating table.

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-04-06 10:27

      @Alicialouise, his late father was no different. It is their style to do this in order to force the west to increase aid. Even food supplies. They have done this several time, but back down just before they rich the brink. They don't have the intention to start a war, but to be taken seriously by the world powers.

      Waseem Carrim - 2013-04-06 10:29

      But what if this is some kind of "holy war". What if the N. Koreans believe the time for an apocalypse has come and that they must lead the war. We don't know how these people think and what's driving them? I don't think we are considering that this nutter has the potential to start something that could really affect the entire world!

      markt - 2013-04-06 10:49

      Could North Korea be the worlds largest cult? It certainly seems so. Kim Young-one's version of sarin gas could be nuclear weapons.

      David Lebethe - 2013-04-06 11:07

      @Linds Ron-House. Don't you think, it sabout time that Washington's strength should be put to test? All that we know is that the US always claims easy victories and it, with "all its might" can't do as it pleases in countries such as Afghanistan. It is therefore (equally) irresponsible to call for war against North Korea from sanctity of your homes when there innocent lives (both both sides) to be affected.

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-04-06 17:21

      @David, North Korea has a substantial army and it's quite loyal too. It is a force to be reckoned with. However, the US can sustain a war for far longer than North Korea because of its financial muscle. Its neighbours will readily allow the US to use their airspace and land even.

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-04-06 17:29

      @Alicia, yes maybe his ego only surpassed by his stupidity. He's young anyway. But I still doubt that he will follow through on his rhetoric with military action. Maybe a missile test not targeted at anyone. If he really wants a war then I suspect he will push the US to make a preemptive strike and thereafter return the favour.

      Linds Ron-House - 2013-04-06 18:30

      @Markt, the South also suffers from the personality cult kind of politics although I have to agree that the North takes the cup.

  • freddy.vanwijk - 2013-04-06 08:45

    Instead of feeding it's people North Korea wants war.

  • Karl Reed - 2013-04-06 08:49

    *yawn*

  • carel.merwe.7 - 2013-04-06 08:57

    Zzzzz

  • Kelu Lamont - 2013-04-06 09:11

    They wont launch...theres too much at stake,including "decapitation"(the killing of the young fat Kim and his military chiefs)....all these leaders would have everyone die,except themselves

  • Lynn Hattingh - 2013-04-06 09:44

    HKGK.

  • Claudius Lethabo Setata - 2013-04-06 09:46

    This can be a coup of world war lll...............

      Larry - 2013-04-06 10:44

      Your 'stupid' brain cells just won a coup over those of minor intelligence. This is why you do not know the meaning of 'coup'.

  • Mesuli Jamaica - 2013-04-06 10:09

    One missed call big bang war begin then small countries suffer more.why they just wipe off that country with one nuclear bomb

  • Vlad Wasinsky - 2013-04-06 10:09

    A mad dog that the North Koreans have for a leader. They feeding their citizens all kinds of crap stories about the US, as they do not allow their citizens the basic right to have access to the truth, via the internet.

  • Dmitri Dumas - 2013-04-06 10:10

    This N.Korean leader is a special kind of batsh*t crazy. My concern lies with the generals that surround him.

  • Janine Hughes - 2013-04-06 10:13

    North korea reminds me of one of those small cheeky yappy dog. As soon as a big dog arrives ready to pounce it runs away yelping.

  • Shawon Tiltman - 2013-04-06 10:25

    lmao the most dangerous place today is the streets of south Africa. ..here there is no warning they just kill you.send fat boy here he won't last 10 mminutes. ..

  • Irvin Mkhari - 2013-04-06 10:47

    ndza ma rhandza ma koreans(north koreans). A ma teki thyaka e ka america, south korean and japan.a ma fani na SA

      Stanley Mabunda - 2013-04-06 14:00

      he mkhari mi hanya e ka misava yi hi my broer?

      derick.vorster - 2013-04-06 21:53

      baijarewvoame g brmabotoijbioe[ajob[nteaov movaewjp[abvmaperv

  • Richard Lemmer - 2013-04-06 11:26

    Shoot the flatface !!!

  • Sam Mayihlome - 2013-04-06 14:59

    maybe not in our lifetime. its so tiring to hear and read about this war. boriiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!

  • John Corner - 2013-04-06 17:42

    N.korea must stop this,those USA terrorist will bomb them hard.ask iraq.

      Price Moyo - 2013-04-06 23:21

      usa terorist? What are u smoking mate?

  • Mojay Jabulani Mooi - 2013-04-06 21:01

    Dear illuminati nikkas, we knw dt War is a money making scheme, I dnt care about the war , just give me a multi-billion military tender, food, ammu, etc anything goes , plz hook me up , I also want to be a multi billionaire , plz man stop being greedy, on ma knees ..lol ..m crus jokes aside

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