US demands action against North, braces for `provocations`

The United States demanded N Korea pay a price for allegedly sinking a S Korean warship.

Singapore: The United States demanded North
Korea pay a price for allegedly sinking a South Korean warship
even as Washington and its Asian allies brace for possible
"provocations" by the Pyongyang regime.

In a show of solidarity, US, Japanese and South Korean
defence chiefs met in Singapore to discuss punitive steps
against North Korea as the UN Security Council prepares to
take up the crisis triggered by the sinking of the Cheonan.

US Defence Secretary Robert Gates told his counterparts
that "it`s important we have a unified front to deter further
provocations," his press secretary, Geoff Morrell, told

While condemning North Korea`s alleged torpedo attack,
which left 46 South Korean sailors dead, Washington and Seoul
have called for calm and avoided talk of a military response.

But given the North`s volatile reputation, the United
States and its allies have to be prepared for possible
violence, Morrell said.

"When you`re dealing with a regime as unpredictable as
(North Korea), that`s always a concern," he said.

Tensions have soared on the peninsula since a
multinational probe last month concluded a North Korean
torpedo sank the Cheonan, triggering trade reprisals by South
Korea and threats of war by the communist North.


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