Tensions deepened on Thursday on the Korean peninsula as South Korea accused North Korea of firing a torpedo that sank a naval warship, killing 46 sailors in the country's worst military disaster since the Korean War. President Lee Myung-bak vowed “stern action” for the provocation following the release of long-awaited results from a multinational investigation into the March 26 sinking near the Koreas' tense maritime border.
North Korea called the results a fabrication, and warned that any retaliation would trigger war. It continued to deny involvement in the sinking of the warship Cheonan.
“If the [South Korean] enemies try 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,” Col. Pak In Ho of North Korea's navy was quoted as saying in Pyongyang.
An international civilian-military investigation team said evidence overwhelmingly proved a North Korean submarine fired a homing torpedo that caused a massive underwater blast that tore the Cheonan apart.
While 58 sailors were rescued from the frigid Yellow Sea waters, 46 died.
Since the 1950-53 war on the Korean peninsula ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas remain locked in a state of war and divided by the world's most heavily armed border.