British travellers to South Korea have been warned that tensions with North Korea could change rapidly and they should monitor government travel advice.
South Korea yesterday raised its alert level to “vital threat’ – the second highest of four levels – amid indications that the North is preparing for a missile test.
At least one ballistic missile with an estimated 2,000-mile range is fuelled and ready for launch, according to US and South Korean sources.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: “In recent weeks, the North Korean government has raised tensions through a series of strong public rhetorical statements.
“The FCO assess that there is currently no immediate increased risk or danger to those living in or travelling to South Korea. However, the situation could change quickly.”
It added that the UK has no plans to withdraw the British Embassy in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
A number of travel agencies in China have reported that tourist trips into North Korea have been suspended.
One travel agent in the north-eastern city of Dandong told the Reuters news agency: “All [tourist] travel to North Korea has been stopped from today and I’ve no idea when it will restart.”
The FCO added: “It’s not possible to enter North Korea from South Korea, unless you’re making an official visit to the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC). The British Embassy in Seoul is unable to provide consular assistance to British nationals in the KIC, and access by the British Embassy in Pyongyang is limited.”
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