Clinton Warns North Korea of 'Consequences' for Torpedo Attack

South Korea says it was the victim of an ambush.

ByABC News
May 21, 2010, 3:31 PM

SEOUL, South Korea May 21, 2010— -- A tough talking Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today warned North Korea, accused of torpedoing a South Korean warship in March, that "provocative actions have consequences."

Clinton did not elaborate on what kind of options are on the table saying it was "premature" at the moment. But it could no longer be "business as usual," she said at a press conference in Tokyo, Japan earlier today.

Pyongyang swiftly responded by denying that North Korea had "nothing to do with the sunken ship" and criticized the Obama administration for "endorsing, protecting, and fabricating" the report.

In a Foreign Ministry statement through its state-run Central News Agency, North Korea also warned that they will not "allow any actions" by the international community. On Wednesday, it had threatened it will go in an all-out war if countermeasures are enforced.

Following a two-month long investigation, a team of multinational experts had concluded on Wednesday that it was an explosion from a North Korean torpedo, likely from a submarine, that split the South Korea patrol boat in half, killing 46 sailors near the disputed maritime border between the two countries.

Pyongyang has threatened a military response to any harsh South Korean or international response to the incident. A senior U.S. official, however, downplayed the statements saying, "I don't see those statements as threatening a preemptive strike by North Korea. They were authoritative but they did not make that threat."

Senior American officials said the U.S. forces have stepped up vigilance in the region since the South Korean ship was sunk, but they added that they have not seen any evidence that this is the first step towards war from either side. Standing between both sides are 28,500 American troops.

South Korea and Japan are considering tougher sanctions through the U.N. Security Council, but Clinton will face a reluctant Chinese government in the U.N. Security Council, the last remaining ally and a major donating country to the impoverished North.