(AP) – North Korea warned South Korea on Thursday that it could face consequences over a naval clash that occurred between the rival countries off their west coast earlier this week.
The North’s government-run Minju Joson newspaper said in a commentary that South Korea would face “costly consequences” if it continues to assume a confrontational posture against the North.
The commentary, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, did not specify what consequences the South would face if it continues to provoke tension and blame the North for the maritime incident.
It said the clash stemmed from a plot by the South to disrupt direct talks that are planned between Pyongyang and Washington by inspiring anti-North Korea sentiment among American officials.
The navies of the two Koreas clashed off the countries’ west coast Tuesday for the first time in seven years, with each side accusing the other of violating the maritime border.
The exchange of fire occurred hours before U.S. officials said President Barack Obama had decided to accept a North Korean invitation to send the envoy to Pyongyang for the first direct talks during his administration. The incident sparked speculation that the North was trying to foment tensions to gain a negotiating advantage.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Singapore on Wednesday that the skirmish would not scuttle a planned visit to Pyongyang by special envoy Stephen Bosworth.
Bosworth’s trip is aimed at persuading communist North Korea to return to six-nation nuclear disarmament negotiations. North Korea walked away from those talks earlier this year.