North Korea warns of all-out war, even as China urges calm

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Beijing/Washington, May 21 (ANI): North Korea has warned South Korea that it will not hesitate to launch an "all out war" if the latter decides to take "firm" measures" against it.

Pyongyang's aggressive broadside has prompted China to intervene and call for calm, the China Daily reports.

The broadside follows Seoul's accusation that North Korea blew up and sank naval ship, "Cheonan" on March 26 this year.

Pyongyang has denied involvement and called the investigation results a fabrication.

"Our army and people will promptly react to any 'punishment' and 'retaliation' and to any 'sanctions' infringing upon our state interests with various forms of tough measures including an all-out war," the DPRK's official news agency KCNA quoted the National Defense Commission as saying in a statement.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak has held an emergency meeting of his National Security Council today, but made it clear that his government has no plans for a retaliatory strike as of now.

Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai called the sinking "unfortunate" but refused to comment further. He reiterated China's long-standing view on the need to maintain peace on the Korean Peninsula.

"The parties involved should stay calm and exercise restraint ... to avoid escalation of the situation," Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu told a separate briefing later on Thursday. (ANI)

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