Evacuation of Thais swift if Korean conflict deteriorates

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BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, April 12 – Thailand is ready to evacuate its nationals from North and South Korea if tensions in the peninsula worsen, a senior Thai cabinet member said.

Concurrent Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul said here Thursday that about 40,000 Thais are residing in South Korea and a small number–only 10 persons–are in North Korea.

The Thai embassy in Seoul earlier reported that the situation in South Korea remained normal but advised Thai people travelling in the East Asian country to carry with them passports, travel documents and communication devices.

Mr Surapong, attending the Annual Ministerial Meeting (AMM) of foreign ministers in Brunei, said member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) were concerned with the relations between the two Koreas and tensions in the peninsula following the North-South dispute and hoped that the conflict will not escalate.

ASEAN may consider issuing a statement on the tension, he said but did not elaborate.

Mr Surapong said the AMM agreed to pursue the code of conduct in the South China Sea between ASEAN member countries and China.