China 'tells citizens to leave North Korea' as tensions with US escalate

Embassy reportedly calls Korean-Chinese residents with warning

Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith
Wednesday 03 May 2017 18:24 BST
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un watches a military drill marking the 85th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean People's Army (Reuters)

China has reportedly told its citizens living in North Korea to return home, over fears that tensions between Pyongyang and Washington DC could escalate.

The Korea Times reports that the Chinese embassy in North Korea began advising Korean-Chinese residents to return to China last month, over fears the country’s military provocations could lead to retaliation from the US.

According to Radio Free Asia, a US-based radio station that broadcasts to Asian countries, the embassy began sending the message to citizens ahead of the 85th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army last month.

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The radio station quoted a Korean-Chinese man living in Pyongyang who had been contacted by the embassy.

The man, who was not named, said he had been visiting China every few months. He claimed to have been told to stay in China for “a while” and decided to leave North Korea a month earlier than planned as a result, arriving in China in late April.

“The embassy has never given such a warning. I was worried and left the country in a hurry,” he told Radio Free Asia, the Korea Times reported.

He claimed the majority of Korean-Chinese citizens in Pyongyang had ignored the warning.

The website of the Chinese embassy in North Korea did not appear to carry the warning at the time of publishing. The embassy has been contacted for comment.

The US has made a renewed show of strength against Kim Jong-un’s nation this week by sending a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier to Korean waters, while American, Japanese and South Korean air forces flew in training drills together.

Just days ago North Korea threatened to sink a US nuclear submarine that had been deployed to South Korean waters. North Korean propaganda site Urminzokkiri posted the following threat: “The moment the USS Michigan tries to budge even a little, it will be doomed to face the miserable fate of becoming an underwater ghost without being able to come to the surface.”

North Korea this week claimed the US was pushing the region to the brink of nuclear war, prompting China to tell both nations to “stop irritating each other”.

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