North Korea urged foreigners in South Korea to leave the country, in an apparent warning of an “inevitable” nuclear war.
“Foreign institutions, companies and tourists in Seoul and other parts of the country should set up plans to take shelter and devise a way to evacuate,” the official Korean Central News Agency reported on Tuesday.
“We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war,” KCNA quoted Pyongyang as saying.
Analysts said a direct attack on Seoul was extremely unlikely since there were no overt signs that North Korea’s army was readying for a nuclear war and that Pyongyang is fanning anxiety over an impending conflict to get concessions from the US and South Korea.
“When Pyongyang creates tensions, we give them compromise and aid. How long should we repeat this vicious cycle?” President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday.
White House spokesman Hay Carney called the statement “more unhelpful rhetoric”, reports AP. “It is unhelpful, it is concerning, it is provocative,” he said.
The North Korean Foreign Ministry advised foreign embassies last week to evacuate their missions in the capital by April 10, saying it could no longer guarantee their safety if war broke out. So far, none are believed to have started withdrawing their personnel.