Germany has summoned North Korea's ambassador to protest an escalation in tensions. Meanwhile, North Korea has suggested that embassies in Pyongyang evacuate their personnel.
The German Foreign Ministry summoned the Pyongyang ambassador on Friday. The summoning comes one week ahead of a Group of Eight summit in London, also known as the G8, where Germany has said it hopes the group decides on a "resolute and united" response to the tension, Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke said.
"It was made clear to him that the recent steps toward escalation by North Korea are in no way acceptable to the German government in word or deed," Peschke said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Russian embassy in Pyongang said Friday that North Korea had asked the country to consider evacuating its diplomatic personnel because of the rising tension on the peninsula. The spokesman, Denis Samsonov added, however, that Russia was examining the request but was not planning to evacuate at this stage, and that there were no outward signs of tension in the North Korean capital.
‘Not a game'
Speaking from Madrid on Thursday, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed his concern over North Korea's latest actions, calling the threats "alarming."
"Nuclear threat is not a game," Ban said. "It's very serious and I think they have gone too far in the rhetoric. I am concerned that if by any misjudgment, by any miscalculation of the situation, a crisis happens in the Korean Peninsula. This really would have very serious implications."
US beefs up
Meanwhile, the US has announced that it is "taking all the necessary precautions" after North Korea moved a medium-range missile to its east coast.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Thursday that threats coming from the North fit a "regrettable but familiar" pattern of North Korean behavior.
"We're taking all the necessary precautions," Carney said, citing "prudent measures" in response to possible military threats.
The United States also announced that a defense system will be installed on Guam to shoot down incoming missiles and warheads. North Korea recently listed Guam among its targets for a nuclear attack on the United States.
Guam Governor Eddie Baza Calvo said that his administration is providing information to help residents prepare in case of an attack, including guidance for where to hide if radiation is in the air. Calvo said, however, that an attack was unlikely and he has advised the public to go on with their daily lives. Still, he said that no one could be 100 percent sure of safety.
mkg/hc (AFP, Reuters, dpa, AP)