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N KOREA BLAMED FOR DEADLY ATTACKS AND MUST FACE CONSEQUENCES

TOKYO – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Friday the evidence is "overwhelming" that a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean warship and the communist country must face international consequences.
Speaking in Tokyo at the outset of a three-nation Asian trip, Clinton said the U.S., Japan, South Korea and China are consulting on an appropriate reaction after an international investigation blamed North Korea for the deadly attack.
  • She said the report proves a North Korean sub fired a torpedo that sank the ship, the Cheonan, in March and that it could no longer be "business as usual" in dealing with the matter.
  • While it was premature to discuss exact options or actions that will be taken in response, Clinton said, it was "important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences."
  • "The evidence is overwhelming and condemning. The torpedo that sunk the Cheonan and took the lives of 46 South Korean sailors was fired by a North Korean submarine," she told reporters at a joint press conference with Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada.
  • "We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community," she said.
  • North Korea denies it was responsible for the sinking and has threatened to retaliate against any attempt to punish it with "all-out war."
  • North Korea "will regard the present situation as the phase of a war and handle all problems in inter-Korean relations accordingly," Ri Chung Bok, deputy director of the Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, said in an interview with broadcaster APTN in Pyongyang.
  • Clinton's Asian tour, which took her later Friday to China and to South Korea next week, was supposed to focus on U.S.-China economic issues. But that was before Thursday's release of the report which concluded that a North Korean sub was responsible for sinking the South Korean ship on March 26.
Source: AP
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