France has no plans for N.Korea evacuation

France on Friday said it was taking the situation in North Korea "seriously" and urged Pyongyang to refrain from further provocation, but said it had no immediate plans to evacuate French nationals from the country.

"We are taking the situation seriously and we are in close cooperation with our European partners on the ground as well as the agencies of the United Nations," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

North Korea, incensed by UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, has issued a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks, and there has been growing international concern that the situation might spiral out of control.

North Korea also warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang — which include those of Britain and Russia — it would be unable to guarantee their safety in the event of conflict and that they should consider evacuating missions by next week amid soaring nuclear tensions.

"We do not envisage at this stage to evacuate staff from the French Cooperation Bureau, composed of two agents, or French nationals working for non-governmental agencies and UN agencies there," the statement said.

France, which does not have formal diplomatic relations with North Korea, does not have an embassy in Pyongyang.

On Thursday the North Korean army said it had received final approval for military action, possibly involving nuclear weapons, against the threat posed by US B-52 and B-2 stealth bombers participating in joint military drills with South Korea.

Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean government official, said North Korea had loaded two mid-range Musudan missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast.

"Once again, we urge North Korea to refrain from any new provocation," the French statement added.

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