North Korea threatens military retaliation over possible UN censure

Other News Materials 16 June 2010 05:28 (UTC +04:00)

North Korea will retaliate militarily to any condemnation of Pyongyang by the UN Security Council over the alleged sinking of a South Korean warship, North Korea's representative to the UN said on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.

"I am a diplomat and I have no weapons. And if the Security Council adopts a document that is directed against us, that condemns us, I personally will not do anything," Sin Son Ho told a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York.

"However, our armed forces will take appropriate measures. If the Security Council takes any action, I will lose my job. But then our armed forces will have a job to do," he added.

When asked if this job would involve the use of an atomic weapon, Sin said Pyongyang regarded its nuclear arsenal as "a means of deterrence."

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula increased after South Korea's 1,200-ton Cheonan corvette sank near the disputed Northern Limit Line in the Yellow Sea on March 26, causing the loss of 46 lives.

An international investigation determined that North Korea fired a torpedo at the vessel from a submarine. Pyongyang has denied the allegations.

An informal UN Security Council meeting on Monday decided to continue probing the Cheonan sinking, but refrained from pinning the blame on Pyongyang.

However, while the United States and South Korea continue to insist on imposing fresh sanctions on the North, veto-holding China has made it clear that it is against them.

China's position was echoed by Japan, whose UN envoy, Yukio Takasu, said on Monday the Security Council should be careful and not allow the situation on the Korean Peninsula to escalate.

Sin demanded that Pyongyang be allowed to send its inspection group to the site of the sinking.

"We have proposed to send a group of our experts to the site where the Cheonan sank. South Korea has rejected our proposal and instead referred the issue to the UN Security Council, presenting to it absolutely one-sided and completely fabricated conclusions."

Sin went on to call South Korea's allegations "some kind of fiction."

He argued that if Seoul has nothing to hide, then "there is no reason for them not to accept our inspection group."

He also called "suspicious" the fact that the inscription "number one" in the Korean language on one of the remaining pieces of the torpedo which allegedly sank the Cheonan remained very clear despite high temperatures during the blast.

He added that one of the civilian experts on the South Korean inspection crew was dismissed after he discounted Seoul's official report.

Sin accused Washington and Seoul of taking advantage of the incident for their economic and political ends.

He said the United States used the incident to "re-accelerate the formation of the tripartite alliance keeping hold on Japan and South Korea as its servants," as well as to have an excuse to sending its naval forces to the region.

However, he refrained from directly accusing Washington and Seoul of organizing the sinking.