South Korea warned Sunday of possible North Korean assassinations and kidnappings in revenge for recent high-profile defections to the South.
With tensions also high before a large-scale South Korea-US military exercise starting Monday, the Unification Ministry in Seoul said Pyongyang was bent on provocation.
A ministry official told reporters the defection to Seoul of North Korea's deputy ambassador to Britain and his family had put the North in "a very difficult situation".
"Considering (North Korean leader) Kim Jong-Un's character, it is very dangerous," the official said on condition of anonymity.
"It's highly likely that North Korea will make various attempts to prevent further defections and unrest among its people."
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