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EU to tell North Korea its war fears are unfounded

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - North Korea is wrong to proclaim that war is imminent and should heed international demands regarding its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, the European Union (EU) plans to say in a diplomatic message.

The EU's note, agreed by the bloc's 27 member governments on Tuesday, is a response to a warning by North Korea last week that it could not guarantee the safety of diplomats in the country after April 10.

North Korea, which has made a series of threats of an imminent conflict against the United States and South Korea, also asked embassies last week to consider moving staff out of the country.

Seven EU countries - Germany, Sweden, Britain, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Romania - have embassies in Pyongyang.

These countries were considering their response to North Korea's warning but none was currently planning to evacuate any staff, an EU official said.

However, the EU as a whole will also send a diplomatic reply to the North Korean foreign ministry, EU diplomats said. The note is expected to be delivered on Wednesday by the Swedish embassy in Pyongyang.

One EU diplomat said the note underlined the need for North Korea to act sensibly and rejected "its analysis that full-scale war is imminent".

Another diplomat said the note reminded North Korea of the series of United Nations Security Council resolutions passed in recent years imposing sanctions on Pyongyang over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes.

The note will remind North Korea of its obligations under the Vienna Convention, which sets rules for the treatment of diplomats, and say that the EU disagrees with North Korean views about outside threats to the country, the diplomat said.

The note comes as EU governments discuss imposing additional sanctions on North Korea after it staged a third nuclear test on February 12.

An EU official said on Tuesday that the bloc would soon adopt U.N. sanctions approved in March after the nuclear test. EU member states are also discussing whether to impose further sanctions, over and above the U.N. ones.

(Reporting by Adrian Croft and Justyna Pawlak; Editing by Michael Roddy)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130409/eu-tell-north-korea-its-war-fears-are-unfounded