North Korea warns foreigners to evacuate South Korea

Wednesday 10 April 2013 07.58
Trucks from South Korea turn back at the border to North Korea
Trucks from South Korea turn back at the border to North Korea

North Korea has warned foreigners in South Korea to take evacuation measures in case of war, in the latest escalation of warnings.

The KCNA news agency said in a broadcast: "We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war."

Few embassies in Seoul have advised their citizens to leave.

The US has said there were no imminent signs of threats to US citizens.

Meanwhile, North Korean labourers failed to turn up for work at a factory complex operated with South Korea.

This is viewed as effectively shutting down the last major symbol of cooperation between the hostile neighbours.

South Korea's president said she was disappointed at North Korea's decision to halt operations at the Kaesong industrial park.

It comes after weeks of mounting tension during which the North has threatened to attack the South and the US.

Tension has been fuelled by North Korean anger over the imposition of UN sanctions after its last nuclear arms test in February.

This has created one of the worst periods of tension on the peninsula since the end of the Korean War in 1953.

But North Korea has shown no sign of preparing its 1.2m strong army for war.

It indicates the threats are partly intended for domestic purposes to bolster Kim Jong-un, the third in his family to lead the reclusive country.

About 475 South Korean workers and factory managers remain in Kaesong, a few kilometres inside the border with North Korea.

Many South Koreans have been reluctant to leave, worried about the impact on their companies and jobs.

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