UPDATE 1-N.Korea asks Russia to consider evacuating embassy

Fri Apr 5, 2013 7:10am EDT

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MOSCOW, April 5 (Reuters) - North Korea asked Russia on Friday to consider evacuating staff from its embassy in Pyongyang because of increasing tension on the Korean peninsula, a spokesman for the embassy said by phone from Pyongyang.

Denis Samsonov said Russia was examining the request but was not planning an evacuation at this stage, and there were no outward signs of increased tension in the North Korean capital itself.

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.

North Korea has said nuclear conflict could break out at any time on the Korean peninsula, in a month-long war of words that has prompted the United States to move military assets into the region.

According to South Korean media, North Korea has placed two of its intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them on the east coast of the country, in a move that could threaten Japan or U.S. Pacific bases.

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. (Reporting by Alexei Anishchuk Writing by Steve Gutterman; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Andrew Roche)

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