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Last Friday, the North Korean authorities recommended the foreign diplomats, including those from Russia, consider a possible evacuation from the country over the situation deteriorated on the Korean Peninsula. The Russian Foreign Ministry already began the consultations on this issue with the Western partners. The Russian Embassy in Pyongyang works in the routine mode.
Last Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that Russia is “seriously pondering over” the North Korean proposal, the Kommersant daily noted. “We are keeping in close contact with our Chinese partners, as well as US, South Korean and Japanese partners,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated, voicing concerns over “fanning up tensions, still verbal tensions” on the Korean Peninsula.
Meanwhile, chief scientific fellow of the Centre of Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East under the Russian Academy of Sciences Konstantin Asmolov, who is cited by the newspaper, said with confidence that, “The Pyongyang proposal is caused by the care for security of the diplomats over a probable military assault on North Korea.” “When the country intends to wage an offensive war, it does not care about an attack on its capital and the diplomatic missions situated there. Consequently, Pyongyang expects an attack on the country,” Asmolov stated.
The expert cited several facts, which, in his view, point to the preparations for a military invasion in North Korea. “First, the naval exercises off the coast of North Korea involving the whole marine contingent (about 200,000 marines) can be taken as a proper way to transfer the troops. Secondly, under the recent agreement reached between Seoul and Washington, the US military forces are ready to interfere in the conflict if necessary. Thirdly, the South Korean rhetoric has been recently intensified over the need for a preventive strike,” Asmolov noted.
The observers noted that Pyongyang makes such warnings not for the first time. For instance, the North Korean authorities offered to the foreign diplomats to leave the country in 1993, when the tensions on the peninsula began mounting over the large-scale US-South Korean naval exercises Team Spirit. However, the overwhelming majority of the diplomats remained in the country then, and the crisis was brought to nought gradually.
Press attach· of the Russian Embassy in North Korea Denis Samsonov told the Izvestia daily that Russia has issued an address and is pondering over this issue.
The Izvestia source added that the situation is absolutely calm in Pyongyang now. “The embassy works in the routine mode. No tensions are felt in the city,” the press attach· explained.
According to head of the Centre of Korean Studies of the Institute of the Far East under the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Zhebin, who is cited by the newspaper, said that the North Korean proposal to the foreign diplomatic missions is sooner demonstrative.
“In general, from the military point of view it is more profitable for North Korea that the foreign embassies will stay in the country as this factor will make a bombing of Pyongyang less probable by the United States and Japan. Meanwhile, the US is building up its military strength near the Korean Peninsula, and these warnings about the danger can have some real prerequisites,” he underlined.