Britain condemns N. Korea over ship sinking

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Britain Thursday slammed North Korea's "blatant disregard of international obligations" after an investigation concluded one of its submarines sank a South Korean warship with the loss of 46 lives.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain was awaiting proposals from the South Korea on how to respond to the findings.

"The attack demonstrates a total indifference to human life and a blatant disregard of international obligations," he said in a statement. "The DPRK (North Korea)'s actions will deepen the international community's mistrust."

British experts, who formed part of the multinational investigation team, were "in no doubt" that the findings of the investigation into the March 26 sinking were correct, said Hague.

"They have been impressed with the objectivity and rigour of the investigative work," said the foreign minister. "The UK experts are in no doubt as to the veracity of the investigation's findings."

The investigators concluded that a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine sank the South Korean warship near the disputed maritime border, in their report released Thursday.

Hague said he had spoken to South Korean Foreign Minister, Yu Myung-hwan, and expressed his condolences for the lives lost in the sinking.

Britain "and international partners are committed to working closely with the Republic of Korea (South Korea) as they consider an appropriate multilateral response to this callous act," he added.

Speaking to AFP later in the day, while election campaigning in northern England, he said: "We're in consultations with the South Korean government about that.

"I spoke to the South Korean foreign minister yesterday. We are now awaiting further proposals from the South Korean government on how they propose to proceed," he added.

© 2010 AFP

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