Evacuation plan

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Vietnam has no specific plan, but it will evacuate its citizens out of South Korea if armed conflict were to break out in the Korean peninsula, an official said Tuesday (April 2).

Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, director of the Department of Overseas Labor at the Labor Ministry, said that his ministry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are discussing the plan and have not finalized details. However, whenever a contingency arises, evacuations will take place, he said.

More than 10,000 Vietnamese go to South Korea to work every year. The East Asian nation now has 75,000 workers from Vietnam. South Korea is the third biggest importer of Vietnamese labor.

The escalating tensions between North and South Korea have not affected Vietnam's labor exports, said Luong Duc Long, deputy director of labor ministry's Overseas Worker Center.

Long said many workers flew back to South Korea to resume work last week. Another two batches of dozens of Vietnamese workers will return this month.

"Up to now, Vietnamese employees have been working normally," he said, adding that Vietnam is in frequent touch with relevant agencies in South Korea to "understand the situation."

Nguyen Ngoc Tuyen, a Thanh Hoa resident who works in Gyeongnam Province, told Vietweek on the phone: "We read newspapers and see that the situation seems to be serious, but we are still living here and see nothing.

"Like the South Koreans, we still eat well and sleep well, and go to work normally every day."

North Korea last Saturday stated it had entered a "state of war" with the South, 60 years after an armistice agreement ended the three-year Korean War in 1953.

A report on the Korean Central News Agency website accused the United States and its "puppet forces" in South Korea of taking many actions to undermine the agreement over the last six decades.

An AFP report quoted the North as saying last Saturday that "all matters between the two Koreas will be handled according to wartime protocol."

South Korea's new president Park Geun-Hye on Monday pledged strong retaliation to any provocation from the North.

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