News / Asia

Diplomats in North Korea Stay Put Despite Warning

South Korean soldiers patrol as vehicles returning from North Korea's inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex back to South Korea arrive at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from Sou
South Korean soldiers patrol as vehicles returning from North Korea's inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex back to South Korea arrive at a checkpoint on the Grand Unification Bridge, which leads to the demilitarized zone separating North Korea from Sou
VOA News
Foreign diplomats stationed in North Korea appeared to be staying put at their embassies in Pyongyang Saturday, despite the government's public suggestion that they should leave the capital for security reasons.

Reports received in Western capitals from foreign embassies in Pyongyang indicate diplomats are disregarding the warning to leave, and that most foreigners saw the warning message North Korea circulated Friday as a gesture intended to heighten tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Tensions Rising on Korean Peninsula

  • February 12: North Korea carries out third nuclear test
  • March 27: North Korea cuts military hotline with South Korea
  • March 28: U.S. B-2 bombers fly over Korean peninsula
  • March 30: North Korea says it has entered a "state of war" with South Korea
  • April 3: North Korea blocks South Korean workers from Kaesong
  • April 4: North Korea moves a missile to its east coast
  • April 9: North Korea urges foreigners to leave the South.  The U.S. and South Korea raise alert level
  • April 14: US Secretary of State John Kerry offers talks with Pyongyang if it moves to scrap nuclear weapons
  • April 16: North Korea issues threats after anti-Pyongyang protests in Seoul
  • April 29: North Korea holds back seven South Koreans at Kaesong
  • April 30: North Korea sentences American to 15 years hard labor for hostile acts
  • May 20: North Korea fires projectiles for a consecutive third day
  • May 24: North Korean envoy wraps up China visit for talks on Korean tensions
  • June 7: South Korea accepts Pyongyang's offer of talks on Kaesong and other issues
North Korea had told embassies and international groups it could only guarantee their safety until April 10 in the event of open hostilities.

Russia and Britain said Friday they had no plans to evacuate embassy staff.

Meanwhile, more South Koreans who work at an industrial complex inside North Korea - a commercial project that both Seoul and Pyongyang have supported for years - return across the border to the South Saturday, several days after Pyongyang said it would block South Korean access to the facility. Up to 500 South Koreans are believed to still be at the Kaesong industrial complex, which is believed to be the main source of hard-currency income for Pyongyang.

North Korea has threatened military action against both the United States and South Korea in recent weeks, unless the outside world stops pressuring North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program. North Korea has claimed it has the capability of launching nuclear weapons. Although the reclusive government in the north has made advances in nuclear weapons technology, most military and diplomatic experts doubt that Pyongyang has the ability to launch such attacks far beyond its borders.

  • Soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in the landing and anti-landing drills of KPA Large Combined Units 324 and 287 and KPA Navy Combined Unit 597 in the east coastal area in North Korea, March 25, 2013.
  • A North Korean soldier attends military training in an undisclosed location in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 19, 2013.
  • North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un talks with generals as soldiers of the Korean People's Army take part in landing and anti-landing drills in eastern North Korea, March 25, 2013.
  • The North Korean shore as seen from South Korean island of Yeongpyeong.
  • North Korean soldiers attend military training in an undisclosed location in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 19, 2013.
  • North Korea's artillery sub-units, whose mission is to strike Daeyeonpyeong island and Baengnyeong island of South Korea, conduct a live shell firing drill to examine war fighting capabilities in the western sector of the front line, March 14, 2013.
  • The air force and air defense artillery units of of the Korean People's Army conducts a drill of drone planes assaulting targets in a picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency, March 20, 2013.
  • Members of the United Nations Security Council vote to tighten sanctions on North Korea at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, March 7, 2013.
  • April 8, 2012: A soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket sitting on a launch pad at the West Sea Satellite Launch Site, northwest of Pyongyang, North Korea.
  • North Koreans celebrate the successful launch of the Unha-3 (Milky Way 3) rocket at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang December 14, 2012. The sign reads: "Let's glorify dignity and honor of great people of Kim Il Sung and of Korea of Kim Jong Il in the world
  • Comparison of the UNHA-2 and UNHA-3 rocket flight paths

Reliable reports in the region indicate that Pyongyang has deployed two intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers near the country's east coast, and U.S. defense officials tell VOA they have been preparing for another North Korean missile launch in the coming days.

North Korea will mark the birth centenary of its "founding father," Kim Il Sung, on April 15 with pomp and ceremony and displays of its military strength. Kim Il Sung led the communist country from 1948 until his death in 1994. His grandson, Kim Jong Un, currently holds power in Pyongyang.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ed mays from: brick nj
April 07, 2013 2:41 PM
All this sabre rattling by this unhitched baby dictator has to be taken seriously as the US is now doing. You would think that his schooling in Switzerland would have show him how democracy works. Hopefully a few army generals will see the danger and stage an overthrow of this maniac. All the money for arms and very little for the poor.

by: Julian from: New Orleans
April 06, 2013 11:27 AM
North Korea is a paper tiger compared to the American giant.

http://quietmike.org/2013/04/06/the-showdown-in-korea/
In Response

by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
April 07, 2013 12:35 AM
There is a lot of chatter of an artillery attack but the seas especially submarine warfare is not out of the realm of possibility. It seems the North has calculated the casualties from return fire and is prepared to take kia's in the process
So I have no issue with sinking one of their submarines or surface ships if a US Navy ship is threatened.

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