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Tuesday 5 December 2023 Dublin: 4°C
Lee Jin-man/AP A South Korean army soldier moves a part of a barricade allowing media to enter the Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom.
North Korea

North Korea tells foreigners in South to evacuate in case of war

“In the event of war, we don’t want foreigners living in South Korea to get hurt,” says the North’s state-run news agency.

Updated, 08:04

NORTH KOREA has told foreign citizens living in South Korea to begin preparing for an evacuation of the country – further raising the prospect of an armed conflict between the two countries.

State-run news agency KCNA said Pyongyang was warning foreigners to take evacuation measures ahead of the prospect of an escalation in the conflict between the two.

“The situation on the Korean peninsula is heading for a thermo-nuclear war,” the agency was reported to have said.

“In the event of war, we don’t want foreigners living in South Korea to get hurt,” it added.

The statement, issued by the ‘Asia-Pacific Peace Committee’, advised foreigners to find out in advance where they could take shelter, and to examine plans about how they could leave the country entirely.

In recent days North Korea has threatened to turn both Seoul and Washington into a “sea of fire” and insisted it would launch pre-emptive nuclear strikes against its enemies.

Today Northern workers also failed to show at the Kaesong industrial complex, further disrupting operations at the only functional border crossing between the two countries.

Kaesong, which lies inside the Northern border, also serves as a source of cheap labour for Southern firms who can pay Northern workers comparatively little, and a valuable source of hard cash for the Northern government.

The effective closure of the complex is a litmus test of the strain between the two countries; it has remained open despite occasional naval skirmishes between the two sides.

Southern workers have been barred from the area since last Wednesday.

KCNA quoted a senior official from the Workers’ Party of Korea, the dominant party in the North, who said the zone was now “in the grip of a serious crisis” as a result of Southern decisions which appeared “hell bent” on a nuclear war.

The party is now to decide whether the zone will be allowed to remain open, or whether the North will “close it as the South Korean authorities and military warmongers seek to turn it into a hotbed of confrontation between compatriots and war against the DPRK, hurting its dignity”.

“How the situation will develop in the days ahead will entirely depend on the attitude of the South Korean authorities.”

Read: South Korean minister says North Korea ‘preparing a fourth nuclear test’

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