North Korea warns of war if South retaliates over ship

SEOUL (BestGrowthStock) – North Korea said on Thursday it would take strong measures, including war, if the South imposes sanctions after blaming it for sinking a navy ship.

The South’s findings were a fabrication “orchestrated by the group of traitors in a deliberate and brigandish manner to achieve certain political and military aims,” the National Defense Commission said in a rare statement carried by the official KCNA news agency.

“Our army and people will promptly react to any ‘punishment’ and ‘retaliation’ and to any ‘sanctions’ infringing upon our state interests with various forms of tough measures including an all-out war.”

North Korea’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-il, heads the commission which has become the focus of power in the reclusive state that has provoked regional tensions by testing ballistic missiles and nuclear devices, drawing sanctions that hurt its broken economy.

A joint team of civilian and military investigators that included experts from the United States, Britain and Sweden said on Thursday there was overwhelming evidence the navy ship Cheonan was sunk by a blast from a torpedo fired by North Korea.

President Lee Myung-bak said the South would take firm measures against the North and seek international cooperation to make Pyongyang admit its responsibility.

The White House said it backed the South’s findings and called the North responsible for an act of aggression that will deepen its isolation.

The North’s commission said any actions taken against it would be considered provocation and warned the United States and Japan to refrain trying to take advantage of the situation.

“The world will clearly see what dear price the group of traitors will have to pay for the clumsy ‘conspiratorial farce’ and ‘charade’ concocted to stifle compatriots,” it said.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said in Beijing on Thursday the sinking was “unfortunate” but would not be drawn on the report.

China is North Korea’s only major political and economic backer. It irked South Korea earlier this month by hosting Kim on a rare trip abroad, despite the sinking of the ship.

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(Reporting by Jack Kim; Editing by Jonathan Thatcher and Nick Macfie)

North Korea warns of war if South retaliates over ship