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Sanctions will draw strong 'physical' response: N.Korea

The unnamed spokesman, however, did not elaborate what "physical measures" would be taken. -AFP

Sat, Jul 24, 2010

SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea on Saturday said it would take "strong physical measures" against US sanctions, Pyongyang's state media reported.

The warning was made by a foreign ministry spokesman who attacked the US for planning to hold naval drills with South Korea Sunday and for announcing sanctions against the North over the sinking of a South Korean warship.

"The DPRK (North Korea) will bolster its nuclear deterrent in a more diversified manner and take strong physical measures... now that the US opted for military provocations, sanctions and pressure defying the demand of the international community including the UN Security Council," the Korean Central News Agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

The unnamed spokesman, however, did not elaborate what "physical measures" would be taken.

He accused the United States of driving the situation "to an extreme phase" after opting to escalate confrontation with the North under the pretext of the sinking of the South Korean warship, "with which the DPRK has nothing to do."

"The US provocations amount to trespassing on the off-limits fixed by the DPRK and it, therefore, feels no need to remain bounded to the off-limits drawn by the US," he said, without elaborating.

"It is the mode of the DPRK's counteraction to react to sword brandishing in kind," he said.

Tensions are high on the Korean peninsula after a South Korean warship, the Cheonan, was destroyed in March, claiming 46 lives.

South Korea and the United States accuse the North of torpedoing the warship near the disputed Yellow Sea border.

In a show of force, the two allies have announced a major joint naval exercise starting Sunday and involving 200 aircraft and 20 ships including an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan (East Sea).

The United States also announced further sanctions aimed at stopping the cash-strapped North from selling nuclear weapons or related material as well as blocking money laundering and other illicit activities.

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