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North Korea Tells British Embassy Its Staff Are In Danger Amidst Escalating Conflict

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Tensions in the Korean peninsula went up another notch on Friday as North Korea told the British Embassy in the country that the safety of its staff could not be guaranteed.

However the Foreign Office said there were no "immediate plans" to withdraw Embassy personnel.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said: “Earlier today, the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed a number of Embassies of foreign countries in Pyongyang, including the British Embassy, and representatives of international organisations that they would be unable to guarantee the safety of Embassies and international organisations present in the country in the event of conflict.

"They invited the Embassies and organisations present at the meeting to inform them by 10 April what assistance they would require from the DPRK should they wish to be evacuated from DPRK or to be relocated elsewhere.

"We are consulting international partners about these developments. No decisions have been taken, and we have no immediate plans to withdraw our Embassy.

"In recent weeks, the North Korean Government has raised tensions on the Korean peninsula and the wider region through a series of public statements and other provocations. We condemn this behaviour and urge the North Korean Government to work constructively with the international community, including over the presence of foreign Embassies.”

Nuclear armed North Korea moved two mid-range missiles on to the east coast of the country this week.

The Musudan missile can travel up to 4,000km, putting South Korea, Japan and the US military units on Guam within its potential range.

UN Secretary Ban Ki Moon appealed for North Korea to calm its rhetoric, telling a news conference in Madrid "nuclear war is not a game" and saying Kim Jong Un had "gone too far."

The escalating rhetoric and increase in military manoeuvres risk creating a wider conflict.

The United States is staunchly behind South Korea and has been conducting a number of highly visible joint military operations over the past few weeks.

On Tuesday, North Korea's leader, Kim Jong un, ordered the reopening of the facilities at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex, including a reactor mothballed in 2007. When fully running, the reactor is capable of churning out one atomic bomb worth of plutonium - the most common fuel in nuclear weapons - a year.

This was followed on Wednesday by North Korea imposing restrictions on South Korean workers from entering the Kaesong zone, a jointly run industrial area north of the border. According to Reuters, the South Korean workers in the zone were allowed to leave, while those attempting to enter the park were denied access.