NORTH Korea has asked Russia to consider the possible evacuation of its embassy staff, according to reports after it was alleged China was ‘losing patience’ with its old ally.
Kurt Campbell, the former head of the State department in Asia said:”There is a subtle shift in Chinese foreign policy. Over the short to medium term, that has the potential to affect the calculus in north east Asia.”
China has also continued to move tanks and armored vehicles whilst flying flights near North Korea this week as part of a military build-up in the northeastern part of the country that U.S. officials say is related to the crisis with North Korea.
In a dramatic twist yesterday, China reportedly rejected a request from the North to send them an envoy in order to improve their soured relations, in what could be seen as a warning regarding the regime’s recent warmongering rhetoric.
The Russians meanwhile have confirmed that they would not yet evacuate any staff from Pyongyang.
The spokesman, Denis Samsonov, said that Russia was examining the request but was not planning to evacuate at this stage, and that there were no outward signs of tension in the North Korean capital.
He said other foreign embassies had received similar requests.
A North Korean Foreign Ministry representative “proposed that the Russian side consider the issue of the evacuation of employees in connection with the increasingly tense situation”, Samsonov said.
The country loaded two intermediate-range missiles onto mobile launchers and hidden them in an unidentified facility near the east coast, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency has said.
“It has been confirmed that North Korea, early this week, transported two Musudan mid-range missiles by train to the east coast and loaded them on vehicles equipped with launch pads,” Yonhap quoted the official as saying.
The official said the mobile launchers had since been hidden in special underground facilities, according to reports.
The ominous move could be seen as a threat intended to demonstrate a show of power by the North to either Japan or to U.S. bases on Guam.
“The range is between 3,000 to 4,000km. There are major US military forces in Guam and a fixed number of troops to deal with the Korean peninsula, so I think these facts can reduce the possible danger there,” Kim Min-seok, South Korea’s Defence Ministry spokesman, said.
Yesterday, the US confirmed it would deploy a missile-defence system to Guam in response to the threats.
Meanwhile, military officials have revealed South Korea has since deployed two warships with missile-defence systems to track the North’s missiles.
The latest developments come as Prime Minister David Cameron warned that North Korea has the capability to launch nuclear weapons that could reach Britain.
The Prime Minister made the dramatic claim as he called for the UK to maintain its nuclear deterrent – insisting the threat posed by North Korea was a “real concern”.
He said the actions of Kim Jong Un’s regime were “worrying and threatening” and the country had “extremely dangerous” weapons.
He called for North Korea to abide by the United Nations resolution and ensure “that the heat is taken out” of the situation.
In a statement, the North’s supreme military command said it is formally notifying the White House and the Pentagon that “reckless operations” involving cutting-edge nuclear weapons have been finally approved.
“The moment of explosion is approaching fast,” the army said in a statement on state news agency KCNA.
Today, UN chief Ban Ki-moon warned that “the nuclear threat is not a game”.
The escalating level of threats from Pyongyang are “really alarming and troubling,” he said, urging North Korea to ease tensions.
“Any misjudgement or miscalculation could have “very serious implications,” he said.
Tensions have increased since the U.N. Security Council imposed new sanctions on North Korea in early March, seeking to curtail its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes after it conducted its third nuclear test.