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(LEAD) N. Korea slams U.S. over growing talk of possible naval blockade

All News 22:48 December 08, 2017

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; TRIMS; ADDS more info in paras 5-6)

SEOUL, Dec. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea lashed out at the United States on Friday over the possible use of a naval blockade in the wake of its recent missile provocation, warning it would be met with an "immediate and merciless counteraction."

The condemnation came after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recently mentioned the "right to interdict maritime traffic transporting goods" to and from the North after its Nov. 29 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking the anywhere on the U.S. mainland.

Talk of a possible maritime blockade has also emerged from academia, though Seoul has reiterated its opposition to any military options, including a preemptive strike, to address the nuclear standoff.

"The U.S. moves for sea blockade can never be tolerated as they constitute a wanton violation of the sovereignty and dignity of an independent state," the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

"The Trump group should be mindful that should they show even the slightest movement to put its attempt at sea blockade into practice, it will be followed by an immediate and merciless counteraction for self-defence from the DPRK," it added.

DPRK is the abbreviation for North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Citing the London treaty on the definition of invasion and U.N. General Assembly Resolution 3314, the KCNA claimed that blockade-type sanctions against a sovereign state in peace time is an "act of invasion, an illegal act."

"Now the U.S. is trumpeting about sea blockade, not content with staging largest-ever nuclear war drills against the DPRK in the sea and air after shipping the strategic assets into the Korean peninsula," it said. "This is a hideous war criminal act to push the situation to an 'uncontrollable' catastrophic phase and to a touch-and-go phase of a war."

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