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North Korea warns of military response over navy ship accusations

North Korea has warned that its military forces will respond if the UN Security Council questions or condemns the country over the sinking of a South Korean navy ship, which it vehemently denies.

At a rare news conference, North Korea's UN Ambassador Sin Son Ho demanded that a military investigation team from North Korea be permitted to go to the site of the sinking to verify the result of a South Korean probe "in an objective and scientific way," which the South has refused to allow.

There is "a touch and go situation that a war may break out any time ... on the Korean peninsula due to the reckless military maneuvers of South Korea," which has accused the North of torpedoing the ship and is seeking UN action to punish it.

Sin called the accusation against North Korea "a farce concocted by the US and South Korea in pursuit of their political purposes" and accused the South of fabricating the results of its investigation "from A to Z."

If the North Korean inspection team visits the site, Sin said, "everything will be clarified."

The ambassador said North Korea wasn't accusing anyone of sinking the 1,200-ton Cheonan on March 26, which claimed the lives of 46 South Korean sailors. He reiterated his government's claim that the corvette was grounded, noting that the area where it sank has "a lot of rocks."

The ambassador called the news conference a day after North Korea and South Korea made separate presentations to the Security Council on the ship sinking.

The council said in a statement afterwards that it is concerned the ship sinking could endanger peace on the Korean peninsula, and it urged Seoul and Pyongyang to refrain from any provocative acts.

The council did not say what action it might take in response, and Mexico's UN Ambassador Claude Heller, the current council president, reiterated that consultations were still taking place among the 15 members.

When Sin was asked how North Korea would respond if the Security Council imposed a third round of sanctions or issued a weaker presidential statement, he said: "If the Security Council release any documents against us condemning or questioning us in any document, then myself as (a) diplomat, I can do nothing - but follow-up measures will be carried out by our military forces."

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