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Seoul to evacuate Koreans if Japan crisis worsens

18 march 2011, 10:39
0
REUTERS/Yomiuri Yomiuri©
REUTERS/Yomiuri Yomiuri©
South Korea said Friday it would mobilise military aircraft and vessels to evacuate its nationals if Japan's nuclear crisis worsens.

Seoul has so far avoided talking about the withdrawal of Koreans for fear of undermining relations with its neighbouring economic power.

"The government has a plan to mobilise all kinds of transportation, including military aircraft and coastguard boats," Second Vice Foreign Minister Min Dong-Seok told a group of ruling Grand National Party lawmakers.

He also said Seoul advised Koreans within 80 kilometres (50 miles) of the crippled nuclear plant to evacuate, more than doubling the previous evacuation distance of 30 kilometres from the stricken reactors.

Seoul has been reluctant to go well beyond Tokyo's advice for evacuating people living in 12-mile (20-kilometre) exclusion zone from the reactors as it is apparently anxious to avoid upsetting Japan grappling with the developing crisis.

South Korea, Japan's closest neighbour, has been urging calm amid growing fears of radiation exposure, with officials stressing winds blowing from the west year-round will blow radiation out into the Pacific.

In an attempt to allay fears, it has started posting radiation level readings across the country twice a day on its science ministry Internet homepage.

Today's readings indicated normal radiation levels all over South Korea.

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