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Updated: June 26, 2010 20:48 IST

North Korea: ‘War may break out at any moment’

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A North Korean Army soldier looks at the southern side using binoculars at the border village of Panmunjom, (DMZ), that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War. File photo
AP A North Korean Army soldier looks at the southern side using binoculars at the border village of Panmunjom, (DMZ), that separates the two Koreas since the Korean War. File photo

The sinking of Seoul's warship Cheonan fuelled tensions with the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. The DPRK envoy accused the U.S. and South Korea of aggravating the situation.

The Korean Peninsula could see a war break out at any time owing to the deteriorated situation there, a North Korean diplomat told a United Nations forum on Thursday.

"The present situation on the Korean Peninsula is so grave that a war may break out at any moment," said Ri Jang Gon, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s envoy to the Conference on Disarmament.

The diplomat blamed South Korea and the United States for aggravating the situation over the sinking of Seoul’s warship.

Those two countries, he charged, were seeking further sanctions against the isolated government in Pyongyang and "fabricated" the naval incident for that purpose.

The Cheonan corvette was sunk on March 26 near the border between the Koreas. South Korea and an international team of investigators blamed North Korea for sinking the ship with a submarine-fired torpedo, killing 46 sailors.

U.S. ambassador to the conference, Laura Kennedy, said she too felt the situation was "very grave", but rejected the north’s allegations.

"We certainly accept without a doubt the result that clearly indicated where the blame lay" for the sinking of the ship, Ms. Kennedy said in response.

The South Korean delegation took a similar stance, and rejected that his government fabricated the incident saying his northern counterpart was acting for "propaganda purposes". "We believe there is no doubt at all about those investigation’s result and outcomes," South Korean ambassador Im Han-taek said, charging that the sinking was a violation of the 1953 armistice agreement.

"The DPRK has already clarified it has nothing to do, nothing to do, with sinking of the South Korean warship," Mr. Ri said.

"Our sons and daughters in uniform and entire people are on full alert and readiness to promptly react to any punishment and retaliation and any sanctions infringing on our state interests with various forms of tough measures including an all out war," he said.

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