US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declares the gloves are off regarding North Korea





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Published on May 21, 2010

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said on Friday that evidence was "overwhelming" that a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean warship and that the communist country must face international consequences for its actions.

Speaking in the Japanese capital at the outset of a three-nation Asian trip, Clinton said that the US, Japan, South Korea and China are consulting on an appropriate reaction.

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.

"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 and the United States strongly condemns this act of aggression. As Minister Okada and I discussed, we will be in deep and constant consultations not only between the United States and Japan, but also with South Korea, China and others to determine our response."

"I think it is important to send a clear message to North Korea that provocative actions have consequences. We cannot allow this attack on South Korea to go unanswered by the international community. So we will determine our best options moving forward and send a clear, unmistakable message to North Korea regarding the international community's and most particularly its neighbours' concerns about its behaviour and I look forward to being able to work out the details over the next week."

"The Lee (South Korean President Lee Myung bak) group's assertion that the above-said case is linked with the North is the last-ditch effort of those who face destruction as it is a premeditated and deliberate plot to tide over a serious crisis created due to the total failure of its domestic and foreign policies," North's state broadcaster KRT said on Friday.

US President Obama wants South Korea to lead the way in coming up with possible responses.

North Korea denies it was responsible for the sinking and has threatened to retaliate against any attempt to punish it with "all-out war."

Chinese officials have appealed for calm.



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