05/20/2010, 00.00
KOREA
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Accused of having sunk the Cheonan gunboat, Pyongyang threatens "total war"

The results of the inquiry committee into the sinking of the Chenoan gunboat lays the blame on a North Korean torpedo. Communist regime strongly rejects the accusations and threatens to launch a war if South Korea and the international community impose new sanctions.

Seoul (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Evidence of responsibility for the sinking of the Chenoan gunboat is likely to bring the two Koreas on the brink of another war. According to the official results of an multinational investigation a North Korean torpedo caused the explosion that March 26 sunk the ship, killing 46 sailors”.

"The evidence clearly indicates that the torpedo was launched from a North Korean submarine – revealed the recently published report of the Committee of Inquiry - there is no other possible explanation." Scientists have found remains of a North Korean manufactured torpedo with clearly legible serial numbers at the scene of the sinking.

Through an unidentified government spokesman, Pyongyang has denied all responsibility slamming the findings as "pure fabrication" Seoul and has threatened to take "strong measures" even to the point of declaring "all out war”, if new sanctions are adopted.

South Korean President Lee has taken a tough line: "We will be taking firm, responsive measures against the North, and through international cooperation, we have to make the North admit its wrongdoing and come back as a responsible member of the international community."

For its part the international community condemns the incident. The United States has described the sinking as "an act of aggression" and "unacceptable behaviour" by North Korea. The reaction from China, Pyongyang's main ally in the region, has been rather more cautious.  Through its foreign minister, Beijing describes the episode as "regrettable”, but does not go as far as to give its support to Seoul, while Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama expressed "strong condemnation".  UN Secretary General of Ban Ki-moon has called the results of the investigation "very disturbing", promising to closely monitor developments.

Meanwhile in the capital of South Korean people today held the first round of protests against the communist regime in the north.  

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