North Korea warns of war if punished for ship sinking
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – South Korea accused North Korea today of firing a torpedo that sank a naval warship in March, killing 46 sailors in the country’s worst military disaster since the Korean War.
President Lee Myung-bak vowed “stern action” for the provocation following the release of long-awaited results from a multinational investigation into the incident. North Korea, reacting swiftly, called the results a fabrication and warned that any retaliation would trigger war.
Investigators said evidence overwhelmingly proves North Korea fired a homing torpedo that caused a massive underwater blast that tore the Cheonan into two on March 26. Fifty-eight sailors were rescued from the frigid Yellow Sea waters near the Koreas’ maritime border, but 46 perished.
“(We) will take resolute countermeasures against North Korea and make it admit its wrongdoings through strong international cooperation,” Lee told Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in a phone conversation, the presidential office said.
The White House called the sinking an act of aggression that constitutes a challenge to international peace and security.
North Korea continued its steadfast denials of involvement in the sinking and said it would send its own investigators to conduct a probe, while warning that any punishment against the North would spark war.
“The all-out war to be undertaken by us will be a sacred war involving the whole nation, all the people and the whole state,” a spokesman for North Korea’s powerful National Defense Commission said, according to a report carried by the state-run Korea Central News Agency.
The North also warned the South against any provocative acts near the Koreas’ borders in the aftermath of the sinking, warning it would react with an “unlimited retaliatory blow, merciless strong physical blow.”
Pyongyang also warned the U.S. and Japan to “act with discretion.”