North Korea Nuclear War: Are Foreign Diplomats In Danger?

By Philip Ross on April 5, 2013 6:27 PM EDT

north korea
North Korean soldiers attend military drills in this picture released by the North's official KCNA news agency in Pyongyang. (Photo: Reuters)

The North Korean government advised foreign diplomats today to get out of Pyongyang, saying it could not assure the safety of foreign employees should tensions on the Korean Peninsula escalate into war. According to Fox News, the communist regime said that foreign diplomatic employees should leave North Korea by April 10.   

ABC News reports that a spokesperson for the Foreign Office in Britain confirmed that it received a statement from the North Korean government to evacuate Pyongyang. A spokesperson for the Russian Embassy announced that their employees were also asked to consider evacuating North Korea.

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The U.S. does not operate an embassy in North Korea. Instead, the Swedish Embassy acts as the U.S.' agent in the country, providing basic diplomatic services to U.S. citizens traveling in North Korea, according to the U.S. Department of State.

Despite the warning, the U.K. has said it does not plan to leave Pyongyang, according to The BBC. The British Foreign Office has warned North Korea that the international Vienna convention requires independent states to safeguard diplomatic endeavors within their borders.

The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, adopted in 1961, outlines the protections afforded to diplomats of independent countries who carry out business abroad. Article 22 of the convention states that countries are under "special duty" to take appropriate measures to protect the premises of foreign consulates against "any intrusion or damage," and that diplomatic infrastructure, including any buildings and furnishings, are immune to search or requisition by the host country.

North Korea's request that foreign employees exit Pyongyang comes at a time when tensions on the Korean Peninsula are reaching their zenith. On Thursday, North Korea moved two medium-range missiles to its eastern coast, prompting suspicions that Kim Jong Un is planning to strike South Korea. The missiles are estimated to have a firing range between 1,800 and 2,500 miles.

South Korea, in turn, sent two destroyers with advanced radar onboard to both its coast, ABC reports.

Read more:

North Korea Nuclear Threat: Crisis On Korean Peninsula 'Gone Too Far'

US Jets To South Korea: North Korea Says It Has Entered 'State Of War'

North Korea Rockets: Is Kim Jung Un Preparing To Attack US?

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