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N. Korean envoy in Laos denies North's involvement in ship sinking.

SEOUL, July 1 Kyodo

North Korea's ambassador to Laos has denied Pyongyang's involvement in the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship, Yonhap News Agency reported Thursday from Vientiane, citing a Laotian official who recently met the North Korean diplomat.

''The South Koreans say we fired a torpedo, but they don't know where the torpedo came from, or whether the torpedo has been there from before,'' the Laotian official quoted Ambassador Han Bong Ho as saying in the Yonhap report.

Han repeated his government's demands that the two Koreas conduct a joint investigation into the sinking of the 1,200-ton corvette Cheonan.

The Laotian official said Han probably meant to say that ''if North Korea had intended to strike the Cheonan, then it would have fired not one torpedo but several.''

An international investigation concluded in May that a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo at the ship on March 26, killing 46 South Korean sailors.

South Korea referred the incident to the U.N. Security Council last month, seeking punishment of North Korea, and it has demanded that North Korea apologize.

But North Korea has repeatedly denied any involvement in the incident, rejecting the investigation results as a ''sheer fabrication'' and threatening ''all-out war'' if it is hit with retaliation and sanctions.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Geographic Code:9NORT
Date:Jul 6, 2010
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