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N. Korea threatens war if U.N. Security Council blames it for ship sinking

All Headlines 17:38 July 07, 2010

By Sam Kim

SEOUL, July 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea threatened Wednesday to wage a "death-defying war" if the United Nations Security Council adopts any statement that blames the communist state for the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship in March.

The warning comes as the 15-member Council is debating a South Korean request for a statement that condemns the North for the Yellow Sea sinking that killed 46 South Korean sailors.

After a weeks-long multinational investigation that ended in May, South Korea announced that the North was responsible for the sinking, while Pyongyang has strenuously denied its role in it.

Should a Council statement blame Pyongyang in any way for the sinking, the North's "military and people will view it as a grave act of infringement on our national dignity and will not hesitate to wage a death-defying war to defend sovereignty," the North's Committee for the Peaceful Unification of the Fatherland said.

The committee that handles inter-Korean affairs apparently targeted South Korea and the United States in its statement released through the official Korean Central News Agency.

North Korea has already threatened an "all-out war" if it is sanctioned or punished for the sinking. The communist country has disputed the veracity of the South Korea-led probe and demands that Seoul accept an inspection group from Pyongyang for verification.

The March sinking marked the worst peacetime naval disaster in South Korea's history and prompted Seoul to implement a series of measures to hurt the North politically and economically.

Despite ongoing efforts by South Korea and the U.S. to draw a strongly worded statement from the Council, China and Russia, two permanent veto-wielding members, have been reluctant to pinpoint North Korea as the culprit, reducing the chances of condemnation.

China is North Korea's foremost economic and political ally, and recently urged the U.S. and South Korea to scrap their plans to hold drills in the Yellow Sea in a show of force against the North.

samkim@yna.co.kr
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