Pinoys in South Korea told to stay alert amid war threat

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

MANILA - The Philippines has warned its citizens in South Korea on Saturday of possible unrest in the Korean peninsula after the North Korea declared a "state of war" against its neighboring nation.

North Korea's government, parties and organizations said in a joint statement that all matters between the two countries will now be dealt with in a manner befitting war.

Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said in a statement that the Philippine government is already closely monitoring the situation in the peninsula and is already coordinating with Filipino community leaders there.

"A state of heightened alertness remains in force for all Filipinos residing in Korea," said Hernandez.

He said the same alert level had already been raised in 2010 and 2011 after separate incidents also took place between North and South Korea.

Hernandez said the Philippine Embassy in Seoul is already monitoring the situation closely in coordination with the United States Forces in Korea and the United Nations Command.

Also, the Embassy is coordinating with Filipino community leaders on steps to be taken in case escalation of tensions warrants an evacuation.

On Saturday, the North Korean government announced that it was entering a "state of war" with South Korea, thus, bringing tension between the two countries to a new level.

As of the moment, however, Hernandez said the overall situation remains "calm and normal" as life proceeds "as usual without any disruption" in South Korea.

"There is little need for concern as of yet that the tension between the leadership of the two countries would lead to an actual conflict," said Hernandez.

Records from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas showed that there are only about 15 Filipinos based in North Korea.

On the other hand, there are more than 80,000 Filipinos that are residing and working in South Korea. (HDT/Sunnex)

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