DPRK warns foreigners in ROK
Updated: 2013-04-10 07:24
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea on Tuesday asked foreigners living in the Republic of Korea to consider evacuation, saying that the DPRK and the ROK are on the verge of nuclear war.
A spokesman for the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee of the DPRK called on all foreign organizations, companies and tourists in the ROK to prepare measures for evacuation in case of war.
Members of ROK media surround a car with workers returning from the Kaesong Industrial Park, at the gate of the inter-Korean transit office in the border city of Paju on Tuesday. Kim Jae-Hwan / Associated Press
"The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermonuclear war" due to the hostile actions of the United States and the ROK and their moves for a war against the DPRK, the spokesman said.
The DPRK does not want to see foreigners in the ROK fall victim to the war, he said.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Tuesday that China opposes any move by either side that may fuel tension or undermine the peninsula's peace and stability.
Hong warned that the current situation on the peninsula is very "complicated and sensitive".
Pyongyang has previously told foreign embassies in the DPRK to consider possible evacuation if tensions flare up.
Hong's remarks show that China's major pursuit remains unchanged - peaceful talks regarding the Korean Peninsula issue, said Shi Yuanhua, director of the Center for Korean Studies at the Institute of International Studies of Fudan University in Shanghai.
Seoul and Pyongyang are still in a standoff and show no clear sign of backing down, Shi said.
But as the tension has risen, "future developments depend on which side is first to make a concession", he said.
Analysts see a direct attack on Seoul as extremely unlikely, and there are no overt signs that Pyongyang's 1.2-million-strong army is preparing for war, let alone a nuclear one, AP reported.
Tourists continued to arrive in Pyongyang.
Mark Fahey of Sydney, Australia, said he was not concerned about a possible war.
"I knew that when I arrived here it would probably be very different to the way it was being reported in the media," he said at the Pyongyang airport. He said his family trusts him to make the right judgment but "my colleagues at work think I am crazy".
ROK President Park Geun-hye expressed on Tuesday her disappointment over the "tentative" suspension of the Kaesong Industrial Complex by the DPRK.
Park said that no country or company will invest in the DPRK if Pyongyang flouts international regulations and promises, adding that predictability and trust are the most important premise for investment.
The DPRK said on Monday that it will withdraw all its workers from the joint industrial complex in the DPRK city of Kaesong.
The Kaesong industrial park, launched in late 2004, was closed as around 53,000 DPRK workers failed to report for work on Tuesday.
China hopes all parties do more to contribute to the peninsula's peace and stability, Hong said.
Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Tuesday that his country will maintain close contact with its allies to cope with a "possible missile launch" by the DPRK.
Japan's Defense Ministry on Tuesday deployed a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missile interceptor in central Tokyo, in a move to prepare for possible DPRK missile launches.
The PAC-3 will also be deployed at Asaka and Narashino in the Tokyo metropolitan area, Kyodo News Agency said.
Washington also warned the DPRK on Monday not to undertake another nuclear test or missile launch.
US Secretary of State John Kerry will have talks in Seoul later this week with his ROK counterpart on issues related to tension on the peninsula.
Kerry, scheduled to arrive in Seoul on Friday, will meet ROK Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, said ROK foreign ministry spokesman Cho Tai-young.
During the two-day visit, the top US envoy is set to pay a courtesy call on Park Geun-hye and meet with ROK Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin.