Lanka on alert over South Korea

Sri Lanka is on alert over the threat posed to South Korea from North Korea and will repatriate Sri Lankans in that country if the need arises.

Foreign Employment Minister Dilan Perera said that so far there is no danger to the Sri Lankans working in South Korea.

Over 20,000 Sri Lankans are employed in South Korea and the Minister says the government is closely following the developments after North Korea threatened to carry out a nuclear attack on its neighbor.

Minister Perera said that if the situation does go out of hand then the local authorities are ready to repatriate the Sri Lankans to safety.

US officials had told Fox News today that there is intelligence that North Korea is moving around mid-range mobile missile launchers, indicating a possible test launch. The Pentagon is closely watching the situation.

Earlier Thursday, South Korea said North Korea moved a missile with “considerable range” to its east coast after an unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army warned the U.S. Wednesday that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear” weapons.

South Korean Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin dismissed reports in Japanese and South Korean media that the missile could be a KN-08, which is believed to be a long-range missile that if operable could hit the United States.

Kim told lawmakers at a hearing that the missile’s range is considerable but not far enough to hit the U.S. mainland. He said he did not know the reasons behind the missile movement, saying it “could be for testing or drills.”

The range he described could refer to a mobile North Korean missile known as the Musudan, which has a range of 1,800 miles. That would make Japan and South Korea potential targets, but little is known about the missile’s accuracy.
North Korea has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

U.S. National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden has called North Korea’s threats “unhelpful and unconstructive.”

“It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development,” she said. “North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations.”

Russia said Thursday that North Korea’s disregard for the U.N. sanctions is hurting the chances of resuming stalled six-party nuclear talks, Reuters reports.  (Colombo Gazette)