NKorea warns of war if punished for ship sinking

NKorea warns of war if punished for ship sinking
# 20 May 2010 21:27 (UTC +04:00)
Baku-APA. North Korea, accused of waging the deadliest attack on the South Korean military since the Korean War, flatly denied sinking a warship Thursday and warned that retaliation would mean "all-out war", APA reports citing news.yahoo.com website.
Evidence presented Thursday to prove North Korea fired a torpedo that sank a South Korean ship was fabricated by Seoul, North Korean naval spokesman Col. Pak In Ho told broadcaster APTN in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang.
He warned that any move to sanction or strike North Korea would be met with force.
"If (South Korea) tries to deal any retaliation or punishment, or if they try sanctions or a strike on us .... we will answer to this with all-out war," he told APTN.
An international team of civilian and military investigators declared earlier in Seoul that a North Korean submarine fired a homing torpedo at the Cheonan on March 26, ripping the 1,200-ton ship in two.
Fifty-eight sailors were rescued, but 46 died — South Korea’s worst military disaster since a truce ended the three-year Korean War in 1953.
President Lee Myung-bak vowed to take "resolute countermeasures" and called an emergency security meeting for Friday.
The White House called the sinking an unacceptable "act of aggression" that violated international law and the 1953 truce. U.S. troops in and around South Korea remained on the same level of alert, said Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama declared his support for South Korea, calling North Korea’s actions "inexcusable."
However, South Korea’s options for retaliation are limited.
The armistice prevents Seoul from waging a unilateral military attack, and South Korea would not risk any retaliation that could lead to war, said North Korea expert Yoo Ho-yeol at Korea University in Seoul.
"That could lead to a completely uncontrollable situation," he said, noting that Seoul and its 10 million residents are within striking range of North Korea’s forward-deployed artillery.