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North Korea urges foreigners in South Korea to evacuate amid rising tension

  • A South Korean vehicle carrying boxes, returning from the North Korean city of Kaesong arrives at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at the Kaesong industrial complex, a jointly run factory with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    A South Korean vehicle carrying boxes, returning from the North Korean city of Kaesong arrives at the customs, immigration and quarantine office near the border village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at the Kaesong industrial complex, a jointly run factory with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)  (The Associated Press)

  • A South Korean army soldier moves a part of barricade for the media to enter at Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at a jointly run factory complex with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    A South Korean army soldier moves a part of barricade for the media to enter at Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at a jointly run factory complex with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)  (The Associated Press)

  • A South Korean soldier stands guard at barricaded Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at a jointly run factory complex with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

    A South Korean soldier stands guard at barricaded Unification Bridge near the border village of Panmunjom, that has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in Paju, north of Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, April 9, 2013. North Korean workers didn't show up for work at a jointly run factory complex with South Korea on Tuesday, a day after Pyongyang suspended operations at the last remaining major economic link between rivals locked in an increasingly hostile relationship. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)  (The Associated Press)

North Korea is urging all foreign companies and tourists in South Korea to evacuate because it says the rival Koreas are on the eve of a nuclear war.

Analysts see a direct attack on Seoul as extremely unlikely. The warning Tuesday from the North's Korean Asia-Pacific Peace Committee is similar to past threats that analysts call an attempt to raise anxiety in foreign capitals.

Observers say a torrent of North Korean prophesies of doom is partly meant to win Pyongyang-friendly policy changes in Seoul and Washington and to boost the image of leader Kim Jong Un.

Last week, North Korea told foreign diplomats based in Pyongyang that it will not be able to guarantee their safety as of Wednesday.