North Korea chaos: UK evacuates diplomats and shuts down Pyongyang embassy

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Despite North Korea claiming to not have a single case of the deadly coronavirus, the UK has become the latest delegation to leave following restrictions due to the outbreak. Ambassador Colin Crooks broke the news on Twitter.

Mr Crooks wrote: “The British Embassy in Pyongyang closed temporarily on 27 May, 2020 and all diplomatic staff have left the DPRK for the time being.”

The news was confirmed by the UK Foreign Office who said the decision was made due to the “restrictions on entry to the country have made it impossible to rotate our staff and sustain the operation of the Embassy”.

However they did say the UK maintains diplomatic relations with North Korea and plans to re-establish the embassy in Pyongyang as soon as possible.

According to Seoul-based NK News, the diplomats crossed the bored into China by land as flights continue to remain on hold.

This news comes after Germany and France both withdrew representatives from the country back in March and closed their missions.

North Korea has continued to dominate headlines over the recent weeks after Supreme leader Kim Jong-un has ‘disappeared’ twice since the deadly outbreak many speculating he had died.

In the Sino-North Korean border region, whispers about the supreme leader’s health continued, even after the government attempted to put hearsay to rest by organising a last-minute public appearance for Kim-Jong.

The country was left unconvinced of the dictator’s recent attendance to open a fertiliser factory in-front of the national media, as it was claimed the plant was unfinished and inoperable.

There were some who even believed the person photographed at the event was a Kim body double.

Another rumour began to circulate that the leader has an issue with his legs.

A source said: “People are speculating that Kim Jong Un can’t walk properly right now because he might have gotten leg surgery due to his weight.

“Other rumours say that he rode around in a car during the opening ceremony because he couldn’t walk properly, while some say that he was exercising to lose weight but strained himself and had to take a long break to rest.

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“There are all sorts of rumours.”

However, last week, he made his first appearance at a military meeting where he promised to improve nuclear arms as World War 3 tensions rise.

State news outlet KCNA announced the “crucial measures” were taken at the meeting “for considerably increasing the firepower strike ability of the artillery pieces of the Korean People’s Army”.

The news agency added: “Set forth at the meeting were new policies for further increasing the nuclear war deterrence of the country.”

The Central Military Commission meeting centred on “putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation”.

This week, North Korea issued a chilling warning by claiming it had the ability to launch an immediate nuclear attack.

The threat was issued at the conclusion of the meeting of the Central Military Commission on Sunday, which was attended by the country’s leader Kim Jong-un.

KCNA said the discussions had centred on “putting the strategic armed forces on a high alert operation” in line with the “building and development of the armed forces of the country”.

Experts predicted that Kim was sending a clear message to the US President that he could initiate a nuclear attack at short notice.

Cho Dong-joon, a professor of Political Science and International Relations at Seoul National University, explained: “It is the first time for North Korea to use the term “high alert operation” to describe nuclear forces.

“This refers to state where nuclear weapons can be used in a very short period of time.”

Mr Dong-joon’s thoughts were echoed by a senior researcher at the Korea Research Institute for Military Affairs.

Ryu Sung-yeob said: “It means that North Korea is able to immediately launch a nuclear attack anywhere in Northeast Asia, stressing that it owns leadership for nuclear deterrent.”

The development is likely to come as a major blow to Donald Trump, who has tried to persuade the north Korean dictator to abandon his nuclear weapons programme.

The US President has met three times with the Supreme Leader, once in Singapore, Hanoi and in the demilitarised zone between the two Korea’s.

The talks are currently deadlocked, after neither side appeared ready to compromise on their respective agendas.

Mr Trump is insisting that the North Koreans abandon not only their nuclear programme but also their chemical and biological weapons.

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