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N. Korea warns of military action, accuses S. Korea of violating waters

All Headlines 17:55 May 25, 2010

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, May 25 (Yonhap) -- Accusing the South Korean Navy of trespassing its waters, North Korea warned Tuesday it will carry out "practical military measures" to defend its western sea border, fueling tension already high after the sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

The unnamed chief North Korean military delegate to talks with South Korea claimed in a statement that "dozens of warships" intruded upon North Korean waters in the Yellow Sea from May 14-24.

"This is a deliberate provocation aimed to spark off another military conflict in the West Sea of Korea and thus push to a war phase the present north-south relations," the statement said.

"Should the south side's intrusions into the territorial waters of our side continue, the (North) will put into force practical military measures to defend its waters," said the statement carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. "The south side will be held fully accountable for all the ensuing consequences."

The Yellow Sea border is the scene of three naval skirmishes since 1999 and the sinking of a 1,200-ton South Korean warship, the Cheonan, on March 26 this year.

North Korea refuses to honor the boundary, saying it should be drawn farther south and routinely accusing the South Korean Navy of ignoring its border.

Forty-six crew members died in the sinking. Citing a multinational investigation, Seoul said Pyongyang deployed a submarine to torpedo its corvette, and pledged to make the communist neighbor pay for it.

The North Korean warning came after South Korea's Navy said it will hold an anti-submarine drill later this week in the Yellow Sea in its first show of military force after the sinking.

A total of 10 warships, including a 3,500-ton class destroyer and three patrol ships, will participate in the exercise to be held in waters off the county of Taean, about 150 kilometers southwest of Seoul, according to Seoul officials.


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