North Korea warns U.N. not to discuss warship sinking

Pyongyang tells the Security Council an investigation into the incident would trigger war

Published June 9, 2010 3:53PM (EDT)

North Korea sent the U.N. Security Council a letter warning the world body to not even open debate on the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang, state media reported Wednesday.

South Korea last week officially asked the U.N. Security Council to punish North Korea, after an international investigation said a North torpedo attack sunk a South ship in March, killing 46 sailors. North Korea flatly denies responsibility and says any punishment would trigger war.

Sin Son Ho -- North Korea's permanent representative at the U.N. -- sent Security Council president Claude Heller a letter Tuesday saying the council must not open a debate on the "the unilaterally forged" investigation results because that would fringe upon the North's sovereignty, the official Korean Central News Agency said in a dispatch from Pyongyang.

"No one would dare imagine how serious its consequences would be" over security on the Korean peninsula if the debate starts, Sin said in the letter, according to the KCNA dispatch.

Sin said the U.N. council instead should take steps helping South Korea and the U.S. accept North Korean inspectors to verify the investigation results, it said.

The ship sinking is the first inter-Korean provocation in which the South has taken the North to the Security Council, despite a history of attacks by the North since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

The Security Council has several choices: a resolution with or without new sanctions against North Korea, a weaker presidential statement calling for specific actions, or a press statement.

The Security Council earlier imposed sanctions against North Korea after its two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009. These include U.N. embargoes on nuclear and ballistic missile-related items and technology, on arms exports and imports except light weapons, and on luxury goods.

By Associated Press

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