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North Korea Urges Embassies to Consider Evacuating

North Korea is urging foreign embassies to consider evacuating their missions in Pyongyang due to rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Russia and Britain confirmed they received a request Friday from the North for their embassy staff to evacuate, but that they have no immediate plans to withdraw. An official at Russia's embassy in Pyongyang said the situation in North Korea's capital is calm.

Britain also said North Korea warned embassies and international organizations in the country it cannot guarantee their safety after April 10 in the "event of a conflict."

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Russia is consulting about the warnings with China, the U.S. and other members of the stalled six-party talks on North Korea.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday he is deeply alarmed by the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has issued a series of threats in recent weeks against the United States and South Korea -- including threats of a nuclear attack on the U.S.



Meanwhile, a senior South Korean official said Seoul may pull workers out of a joint industrial complex in North Korea if their situation becomes dangerous. Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-Jae said Friday the current danger to South Korean staff is not high.

The Kaesong industrial complex is the last link between the two Koreas and is the main source of hard cash for Pyongyang.

On Thursday, U.S. defense officials told VOA they have been preparing for the possibility of another North Korean missile launch in the coming days.

South Korea said it confirmed the North has moved one of its missiles to the country's east coast. Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin said the missile appears to have "considerable range," but it is unlikely it can reach the U.S. mainland.

The South Korean news agency Yonhap reported that North Korea has placed two intermediate-range missiles on a mobile launcher. The report said both missiles have been hidden in a military facility near the east coast.
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