News / Asia

North Korea to Security Council: Don't Debate Warship Sinking

North Korea says it has warned the United Nations Security Council not to debate the sinking of a South Korean warship that Seoul blames on Pyongyang.

North Korea's official news agency says its U.N. ambassador, Sin Son Ho, wrote a letter to the Security Council president saying a debate on what it calls South Korea's "forged" investigation of the sinking would have "serious consequences" for peace on the Korean peninsula.

Seoul formally asked the Security Council last week to punish Pyongyang for a March torpedo attack on the Cheonan warship in which 46 sailors were killed.  An international investigation blamed the attack on a North Korean submarine.

Sin's letter repeated North Korea's denial of the charge.

In another development, South Korean media say authorities have arrested a two-star army general suspected of leaking military secrets to a friend who prosecutors fear may have handed them to North Korea.

The reports say the general, surnamed Kim, is accused of leaking details of a joint U.S.-South Korean military operation to be carried out in the event of an inter-Korean war.

They say prosecutors suspect the general gave the information to the friend, a former South Korean spy who had been arrested on charges of handing military secrets to North Korea. The general was arrested Wednesday.

South Korea periodically detains people accused of spying for its communist neighbor. It also has pledged to carry out a series of punitive measures against the North in retaliation for the Cheonan sinking, including cutting off trade.

But South Korea's government also approved shipments of limited humanitarian aid to the impoverished North Wednesday.  A spokesman for the South Korean Unification Ministry says it will allow private aid groups to send two shipments of baby formula to North Korea later this month.  

The shipments are worth about $320,000.

North Korea has threatened a military attack if it faces punitive action.  The two Koreas remain technically in a state of war, because a 1953 armistice that ended the three-year Korean War was a truce, not a formal peace treaty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.

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