EU tells North Korea it sees no need to quit embassies there
Brussels: The European Union said on Wednesday that the seven EU countries with embassies in North Korea did not need to be evacuated, despite increasingly bellicose rhetoric from Pyongyang.
"We judge that the situation on the ground does not justify evacuation or relocation of EU diplomatic missions," a spokesperson for EU foreign affairs head Catherine Ashton said.
The EU also felt that the situation did not require evacuation from South Korea.
The Swedish embassy in Pyongyang conveyed this message to the North Korean foreign ministry earlier Wednesday on behalf of all EU member states present there, the spokesperson said.
Britain, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Romania and Sweden have diplomatic posts in Pyongyang.
Last week, North Korea told the embassies to consider withdrawing by Wednesday as it could not ensure the safety of their personnel if conflict broke out.
Ashton's spokesperson said that the EU had reminded North Korea that under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, it had a "continuing obligation in all circumstances to protect diplomatic missions and EU citizens."
The EU also called on North Korea "to refrain from further provocative declarations or actions" and instead engage in talks aimed at defusing tensions.
The EU had not "for the time being" changed its travel advice to EU citizens in the region and was not recommending they take any specific action, the spokesperson added.