SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea on Friday warned foreign embassies in Pyongyang that it was unable to guarantee their safety after April 10 and they should consider evacuating their missions amid soaring nuclear tensions.

European countries with embassies in Pyongyang, such as Britain and Russia, reported receiving a warning advisory, as an increasingly bellicose North Korea moved two mid-range missiles to its east coast.

“Their communication said that from April 10, the North Korean govt would be unable to guarantee the safety of embassies and international organisations in the country in the event of conflict,” a spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign Office said. “Our understanding is that the N Koreans were asking whether embassies are intending to leave, rather than advising them to leave,” she said.

Russian FM Sergei Lavrov said Moscow, which has relatively close ties with Pyongyang, was consulting with China over the warning, as well as the United States and other members of the stalled six-party talks on North Korea. There were “many factors” that needed clarification, Lavrov said.

Bulgaria’s foreign ministry said the chief of all EU missions in Pyongyang had agreed to meet Saturday to discuss a common position.

North Korea, incensed by UN sanctions and South Korea-US military drills, has issued a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war in recent weeks, and there has been growing international concern that the situation might spiral out of control.

Ban Ki-moon described the daily threats as “really alarming and troubling” and Germany summoned the North Korean ambassador to convey Berlin’s “serious concern”.

Philippine Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said he was flying to Seoul on Saturday and would “fully vet” contingency plans for ensuring the safety of 43,000 Filipino workers in South Korea. The spike in tensions came as Yonhap news agency, citing a top South Korean government official, said North Korea had loaded two mid-range Musudan missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast. “The North is apparently intent on firing the missiles without prior warning,” the official said. A Navy official told Yonhap that two South Korean Aegis destroyers with advance radar systems had been deployed - one off the east coast and one off the west coast - to track any missile launch.

Meanwhile, communist icon Fidel Castro on Friday called on North Korea and the United States to avoid confrontation and reminded both sides of their “duties” towards peace. “If a war breaks out there, there would be a terrible slaughter of people” in both North and South Korea “with no benefit for either of them,” Castro wrote in a front-page article in Granma, the Communist Party’s newspaper.