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N Korea warns South on ship sinking
Seoul, May 20 (Agencies):
Published on 21 May. 2010 12:04 AM IST
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North Korea said on Thursday it would take strong measures, including war, if the South imposes sanctions after blaming it for sinking a navy ship.
The South’s findings were a fabrication “orchestrated by the group of traitors in a deliberate and brigandish manner to achieve certain political and military aims,” the National Defence Commission said in a rare statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.
“Our army and people will promptly react to any ‘punishment’ and ‘retaliation’ and to any ‘sanctions’ infringing upon our state interests with various forms of tough measures including an all-out war.”
According to international report it was found out that the North Korean submarine’s torpedo sank a South Korean navy ship on March 26 causing the deaths of 46 sailors. Investigators said they had discovered part of the torpedo on the sea floor and it carried lettering that matched a North Korean design.
China has urged both countries to show restraint. South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged to take “stern action” against the North.
North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, heads the commission which has become the focus of power in the reclusive state that has provoked regional tensions by testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices, drawing sanctions that hurt its broken economy.
A joint team of civilian and military investigators that included experts from the United States, Britain and Sweden said on Thursday there was overwhelming evidence the navy ship Cheonan was sunk by a blast from a torpedo fired by North Korea.
President Lee Myung-bak said the South would take firm measures against the North and seek international cooperation to make Pyongyang admit its responsibility.
The Cheonan went down near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border, raising tension between the two nations, which technically remain at war.
The shattered wreck of the 1,200-tonne gunboat was later winched to the surface, in two pieces, for examination.
The investigation was led by experts from the US, Australia, Britain and Sweden. The team examined eyewitness accounts, damage to the vessel, evidence collected from the seabed and the injuries sustained by survivors and those who died. It said: “The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine.
Lettering found on one section matched that on a North Korean torpedo found by the South seven years ago. The White House said it backed the South’s findings and called the North responsible for an act of aggression that will deepen its isolation.
The North’s commission said any actions taken against it would be considered provocation and warned the United States and Japan to refrain trying to take advantage of the situation.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said in Beijing on Thursday the sinking was “unfortunate” but would not be drawn on the report.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to travel to Japan, South Korea and China in the coming days. Managing this smouldering crisis between the two Koreas will no doubt occupy much of her time.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said US President Barack Obama had expressed his “deep sympathy” to Mr Lee and the Korean people and that the US “strongly condemned” the action.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a statement that North Korea’s action was “unforgivable”.
The British embassy in Seoul quoted Foreign Secretary William Hague as saying: “[North Korea’s] actions will deepen the international community’s mistrust.
The attack demonstrates a total indifference to human life and a blatant disregard of international obligations.”

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