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North Korea - South Korea

North accuses South's ships of trespassing, threatens reprisals

As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, angry protesters in Seoul stamp on pictures of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il.
As tensions rise on the Korean peninsula, angry protesters in Seoul stamp on pictures of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Il. Reuters

North Korea's military accused the South Korean navy of trespassing in its waters on Tuesday, and threatened military action in response. The accusation comes amid high tensions sparked by an investigation into the sinking of a South Korean warship near the disputed Yellow Sea border in March.

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In a complaint addressed to the South's armed forces, the North's military alleged that dozens of the South's naval ships had intruded into the North's waters over a ten-day period ending Monday.

"This is a deliberate provocation aimed to spark off another military conflict in the West Sea of Korea and thus push to a war phase the present North-South relations that have reached the lowest ebb," the Korean Central News Agency quoted the message as saying.

If the alleged intrusions continue, the North says it will take "practical military measures to defend its waters", and the South will be held "fully accountable" for any consequences.

The South's defence ministry denies that any of its ships had crossed the border, known as the Northern Limit Line.

Investigators concluded last week that a North Korean torpedo sank a South Korean warship in the area on 26 March. Seoul announced several punitive measures on Monday.

The North has denied responsibility for the incident and threatened "all-out war" if there is any attempt to punish it.

Washington has expressed its support for South Korea and urged China to back additional sanctions on the North. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to fly to South Korea on Wednesday.

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