N.Korea Threatens War Over Cheonan Report

      May 21, 2010 08:03

      North Korea on Thursday threatened "all-out war" if South Korea takes punitive action over the sinking of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan on March 26. The South Korean government in an official report the same day announced that the shipwreck was caused by a North Korean torpedo attack.

      A spokesman for North Korea's powerful National Defense Commission called the findings a "fabricated farce" and offered to send an inspection group to South Korea. It threatened "drastic measures including an all-out war" if Seoul takes sanctions against it. "Such an all-out war would be a holy war to completely wipe out the base of the traitorous clique and establish a great unified nation," he said.

      The statement was issued around 10:30 a.m. Thursday, a mere 30 minutes after a South Korean government spokesman began reading the report on the findings -- an unprecedentedly swift reaction from a normally glacial regime.

      "It seems that they released a prepared statement immediately after the investigation team showed the decisive evidence, a torpedo propeller, to the public," a government official said. "This is proof that the North thinks the situation is serious."  

      The statement said there must be "no shred of doubt about the material evidence to be produced before the inspection group" from North Korea.

      But Lt. Gen. Park Jung-yi, a co-director of the South Korean civilian-military investigation team, said, "The two sides are still under an armistice agreement, so the proper procedure is for the UN Military Armistice Commission to determine how the North was involved and then tell Pyongyang of its own findings."

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