North Korea advises evacuation of foreign diplomats from embassies
MOSCOW — North Korea has advised foreign diplomats to consider evacuating their embassies in Pyongyang in light of increasing tensions in the region, Russian and British diplomats said on Friday.
Russia's Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, told reporters traveling with him in Uzbekistan that Moscow is seeking more details about the North Korean statement before making a decision on whether to evacuate.
The British Foreign Office said its embassy “received a communication from the North Korean government this morning saying that the North Korean government would be unable to guarantee the safety of embassies and international organizations in the country in the event of conflict from April 10.”
Lavrov said Russia is treating the statement from Pyongyang as a suggestion and not an order. Some observers in Moscow called the evacuation advice an obvious propaganda ploy.
Russia's Foreign Ministry said North Korea has made the same proposal to other nations with diplomatic missions in Pyongyang.
The development occurs at the end of a week of bellicose threats by the North against South Korea and the United States. South Korea's Yonhap news agency, citing intelligence sources in South Korea, reported that the North had moved intermediate-range rocket launchers to its eastern coast, putting Guam potentially within range of a strike.
Moscow is consulting with China, South Korea, the United States and Japan over the evacuation proposal, the Foreign Ministry said.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in Washington that the United States plans to remain prudent in the face of “an unpredictable regime and an unpredictable situation.”
“This is just an escalating series of rhetorical statements, and the question is: To what end?” she said.
America, which does not have an embassy in North Korea, is represented in the country by Sweden.
While urging all sides to refrain from escalation, Russia, which shares a 10-mile border with North Korea, has been particularly concerned that North Korea not attempt a first-strike nuclear attack, triggering inevitable retaliation. Some Russian analysts have suggested that North Korea has no intention of actually going to war but warn that as rhetoric continues to escalate, a conflict could ignite accidentally.
“The situation is not developing in the direction we would like it to,” an unnamed Russian Foreign Ministry official told the Itar-Tass news agency. “Now, in such a charged atmosphere, care for safety of our citizens comes to the fore.”
Valery Shnyakin, deputy head of the international affairs committee of Russia's upper house of parliament, said the North Korean recommendation should be taken seriously.
“As a rule, such statements are made amid unfolding military actions,” Shnyakin said, adding that even if Pyongyang is bluffing, such warnings deserve close attention.
“Russia, the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea should coordinate their efforts and act in a united front,” he said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry statement said: “We are strongly convinced that prevention of military operations on the Korean Peninsula is imperative. We consider the policy of fanning military tensions absolutely unacceptable, and we hope for the parties' maximum restraint and composure.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Eiffel Tower temporarily shut down as employees walk out
- Top U.S. advisers debate Iraqi strategy to fight ISIS
- Dozens dead in gunfight on Mexico ranch
- Army commando team kills senior Islamic State official in Syria raid
- Islamic State terrorists tighten grip on Ramadi, Iraq, execute opponents
- Youths accused of torture-murder of 6-year-old in Mexico