North Korea warns foreign diplomats to leave country

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The North Korean government has issued a warning to diplomats stationed in foreign embassies in the country, saying that it cannot guarantee their safety after Wednesday 10 April.   It is unclear what North Korea expects to occur on on that date.
 
The warning comes as the North Korean armed forces reportedly moved 2 missile batteries to the east coast, where they are ideally sited to mount a potential attack on US bases in South Korea and Japan.
  
The report of the redeployment of the missiles came the day after North Korea’s military warned that it has been authorised to attack the US, using “smaller, lighter and diversified” nuclear weapons.
 
North Korea is not believed to have mastered the technology required to miniaturise nuclear warheads sufficiently in order to mount them on long-range missiles. Neither has the totalitarian state demonstrated that its missiles, if it has them at all, are accurate. It is thought that it will take years for the country to create the weaponised nuclear fuel necessary for North Korea to back up his nuclear threats.
 
Despite the increasing tensions, South Korea remains calm.  North Korea has a history of ramping up its aggressive rhetoric so as to gain aid and other concessions from its wealthier southern neighbour and the US.  The North Korean economy, rigidly controlled by the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, is close to collapse and food shortages are widespread.
 
Speaking on Friday, South Korean Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin said that if North Korea were preparing for a full-scale conflict, there would be signs – such as the mobilisation of a number of units, including supply and rear troops – but he stressed that South Korean military officials have found no such preparations.
 
However Mr Kim added that it was possible that the North may mount a provocation, such as  its 2010 shelling of a South Korean island, which killed four people.  The North is also suspected of having torpedoed the South Korean navy vessel Cheonan in 2010.  46 of the 104 crew members on board lost their lives.