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N. Korea rejects talks on warship sinking through truce commission

All Headlines 16:27 July 06, 2010

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, July 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea refused Tuesday to discuss the deadly March sinking of a South Korean warship at a U.N. military commission overseeing the truce on the Korean Peninsula, calling for a new investigation into the tragedy blamed on the communist state.

North Korea has already demanded that South Korea accept an "inspection team" from Pyongyang to verify the results of its multinational investigation into the sinking that claimed 46 lives.

An unnamed spokesman for the North's foreign ministry said his country will not agree to discuss the sinking at the U.N. Military Truce Commission because it would help the United States and South Korea deflect its demand that an inspection team be invited.

"The U.S. and south Korean puppet authorities are playing cheap tricks ... in an attempt to block the involvement of our inspection team and blur the truth behind their fabricated plot," he said in an interview with the official Korean Central News Agency, monitored in Seoul.

The spokesman also rejected the veracity of the South Korea-led probe that ended in May and led Seoul and Washington to conclude that the sinking was a violation of the 1953 armistice agreement.

"The truth behind the 'Cheonan incident' has not been unveiled yet; hence, as of this moment, we cannot even talk about the violation of the Armistice Agreement," he was quoted as saying.

The United Nations Security Council is debating to which extent North Korea should be held responsible for the sinking, the worst peacetime naval disaster in South Korea's history.

South Korea and the U.S. say an elusive North Korean submarine torpedoed the 1,200-ton Cheonan. China and Russia, two permanent veto-wielding members of the Council, have deferred drawing conclusions for weeks.

South and North Korea remain technically at war after their three-year Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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