North Korea warns foreigners to leave South

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North Korea has warned foreigners visiting or residing in South Korea to leave the country saying: “We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war.”
 
The statement, broadcast on state-controlled televsion went on to warn: 
 
“The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war.
 
“Once a war is ignited on the peninsula, it will be an all-out war, a merciless, sacred, retaliatory war waged by the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea).”
 
Last week the North Koreans warned foreign diplomats stationed in the country to leave before 10 April, saying that it could not guarantee their safety after that date. 
 
The South Korean defence ministry said on Tuesday that South Korean forces have been placed on high alert as there may be a possible missile launch from the North.  North Korea has been observed transporting two of its Musudan missiles to the east coast of the peninsula. 
 
South Korea’s president, Park Geun-hye, said that she remained determined not to succumb to the North’s efforts to escalate tensions, which she believed were being made in order to extract concessions and aid from the South. 
 
The North Korean economy is known to be close to collapse, with the country having suffered serious famines during the past few years.
 
Speaking to the BBC, Paul French – an expert on North Korea – said: 
 
“Its economy has been in freefall since the collapse of the Soviet bloc. The economy failed, industry shuddered to a halt. Eastern bloc export markets fell away.”
 
“North Korean agriculture collapsed and the country descended into a famine in the mid-1990s.”
 
In a further sign of increasing tensions, reports from London suggest that the North Korean diplomatic mission may be about to pull out of their London embassy, as boxes were seen being loaded onto a lorry carrying a shipping container on Tuesday.