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North Korea Prepares to Launch Missile Grandfathers Birthday

Patriot batteries are deployed as Pyongyang warns foreigners in South Korea to evacuate in case of a "merciless" war. Japan has deployed missile-defence systems in key locations around Tokyo as North Korea warned foreigners in the South to take evacuation measures in case of war. The Patriot missile batteries were set up as a precautionary measure, and the Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun reported that North Korea would launch a missile test on Wednesday. The batteries were deployed in the defence ministry headquarters in Tokyo and in two suburbs of the Japanese capital, officials said. Tokyo also reportedly has warships with missile interception systems on alert in the Sea of Japan. North Korea's latest warning to foreigners intensified the threat of an imminent conflict, keeping up the fiery rhetoric employed for weeks by officials in Pyongyang. "The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching close to a thermo-nuclear war," said the statement by the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee. "Once a war is ignited on the peninsula, it will be an all-out war, a merciless, sacred, retaliatory war waged by the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)," it went on to say. "We do not wish harm on foreigners in South Korea should there be a war." Last week, the North Korean government told embassies in the capital it could not guarantee the safety of their staff. However, US and South Korean defence officials have said they have seen nothing to indicate that Pyongyang is preparing for a major military action, in which it would be heavily outgunned. North Korea has also suspended its operations at the Kaesong industrial complex, its last major economic link with the South, and recalled all 53,000 of its workers. The work stoppage at a key source of hard cash for the North suggests Pyongyang is willing to hurt its own shaky economy in order to display its anger with South Korea and the US. Amid rising tensions on the peninsula, the US and South Korea have also raised their defence postures. North Korea is believed to have moved two missiles - possibly the medium-range Musudan - to its eastern coast on the Sea of Japan, loading them on to mobile launchers. The Musudan missile has a range of about 3,000km (1,800 miles), meaning it is capable of reaching South Korea and Japan and perhaps also the US territory of Guam in the Pacific Ocean.here has been speculation that Pyongyang might schedule a missile launch to coincide with the birthday of the country's late founder Kim Il-Sung - the current leader's grandfather - in mid-April. Foreign Secretary William Hague has said the threat posed by North Korea must be treated "very seriously" and the US has delayed the testing of an intercontinental ballistic missile in an effort to defuse the situation. North Korea is furious at UN sanctions imposed after Pyongyang conducted its third nuclear test in February, and at joint military exercises between the US and South Korea, with B-2 stealth bombers dispatched from US bases.

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