North Korea has raised tensions again in its dispute with the South by warning foreigners to leave in case war breaks out.
Pyongyang’s official KCNA news agency quotes a spokesman saying “we don’t wish harm on foreigners should there be a war”.
North Korea has issued similar threats in the past as a way of gaining political concessions from its neighbour and Washington, which may be why some people in South Korea are not too concerned by this latest declaration.
Cambodian exchange student Leng Daryna said: “I’m not worried and I don’t think a war will break out. But my family and friends feel very scared.”
Sentiments shared by some regional experts who feel the countries are inching their way towards armed conflict.
“It feels like today’s announcement is another step forward towardsthis consistently shifting line of when will something really happen. Up until now it has been a lot of gestures and a lot of words, so this feels likes one more step closer to that line,” believes Sookmyung University professor Todd Holoubek.
North Korea has now carried out its threat to close the Kaesong industrial park that it operates jointly with South Korea.
But such action has not stemmed the flow of foreign tourists to Pyongyang where preparations are underway to mark the April 15 anniversary of the birth of its founder Kim Il-sung.