(The Guardian) South Korea is bracing for a protracted standoff with the North that could include at least one missile test-launch and a border skirmish.

On Friday, North Korea attempted to heighten fears of military conflict when it told embassies in its capital, Pyongyang, that it could not guarantee the safety of their staff in the event of war. In another sign that it is determined to increase the pressure, Pyongyang extended a ban preventing South Korean officials from entering the Kaesong industrial complex – which it operates jointly with the South – for a fourth day.

A government official in Seoul said there was no indication of an exodus of foreign diplomats from the North, despite the warning. “We don’t believe there’s any foreign mission about to leave Pyongyang,” the official told the Yonhap news agency. “Most foreign governments view the North Korean message as a way of ratcheting up tension.”

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