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North Korea “is prepared for both dialogue and war. It will remain unfazed by military threat and sanctions,” KCNA quoted an unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

In Hanoi, South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan called Saturday on the international community to take strong measures against North Korea’s provocations, Yonhap news agency reported.

Clinton and a North Korean official traded barbs Friday over the sinking, the military drills and the imposition of the new U.S. sanctions. North Korean spokesman Ri Tong Il said the tensions showed the need to negotiate a peace treaty to replace the armistice signed at the end of the Korean War.

Clinton said the U.S. is willing to meet and negotiate with the North, but this type of threat only heightens tensions. She added progress in the short term seems unlikely.

“It is distressing when North Korea continues its threats and causes so much anxiety among its neighbors and the larger region,” she told reporters. “But we will demonstrate once again with our military exercises … that the United States stands in firm support of the defense of South Korea and we will continue to do so.”


Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Jim Gomez in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Jean H. Lee in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.