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South Korea's defense minister says a torpedo might have been responsible for the sinking of a warship near the tense North Korean border last week.
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told parliament Friday that he believes a torpedo and not a North Korean sea mine as he had claimed earlier in the week was the more likely cause of the ship's destruction.
A fishing boat has vanished and is feared to have sunk after searching for sailors missing from last week's naval disaster, maritime police said Saturday.
Police said they lost contact with the 99-ton boat, carrying nine people aboard, after receiving a distress signal at around 8:30 p.m. Friday in the area off the western sea border with North Korea, where the patrol ship Cheonan ship sank on March 26.
Originally posted by Xcouncil=wisdom
Hmmm....thanks for keeping updated here. Won't see this information unless you search for it huh.
North Korea claimed Sunday that the South Korean military "committed grave armed provocation" in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) dividing the two countries, but military officials here denied the accusation.
The North's official news agency, KCNA, reported that a group of South Korean soldiers intruded into the eastern section of the DMZ around 2:07 p.m. and fired 90mm recoilless guns toward a civil police post in the North, "thus seriously threatening the safety of civil policemen of the north side on routine duty."
"This was a premeditated provocation of the south Korean puppet forces designed to deliberately aggravate the situation in the DMZ of the Military Demarcation Line," it said.
South Korea said Monday it wants US experts to help investigate the mysterious blast which tore a warship in two near the tense North Korean border with the apparent loss of 46 sailors.
President Lee Myung-Bak said however that Seoul would not rush its probe into the March 26 sinking of the corvette because the world was watching the outcome.
"Given the examples of disasters in various advanced nations, accuracy is more important than speed in determining the cause of this kind of big incident," he said in a radio address.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff said a phone request had already been made for US help and that the issue would be officially discussed later Monday.
The South Korean military detected movements of 325-ton shark-class North Korean submarines around the time when the naval corvette Cheonan sank near the western inter-Korean maritime border, a lawmaker said yesterday.
The remarks by Rep. Kim Hak-song of the ruling Grand National Party added to speculation that the North may be implicated in the sinking of the 1,200-ton Cheonan, which was torn into two following an unverified explosion on March 26.
“Between March 23 and 27, there had been movements of shark-class submarines at the North’s naval base in Bipagot six times on March 23, three times on March 24 and once on March 26,” Kim, the chairman of the National Assembly’s defense committee, said in a meeting with reporters.
“Two (submarines) were maneuvering. One of them was found to be near Bipagot, but the whereabouts of the other was unverified.”
“If an attack by North Korea is confirmed, it would be a violation of Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, so the U.N. Security Council could take certain measures against the North,” a senior foreign ministry official said on condition of anonymity.
“We cannot say what kind of measures, as Korea is not a member of the Security Council, but U.N. action is likely if an attack can be verified."
Under Chapter Seven of the U.N. Charter, the Security Council determines the existence of any threat to peace, breach of peace or act of aggression and decides what measures to take. Options for the Security Council include military action and the interruption of economic relations or communication.
It could take weeks for the engineers to salvage the South Korean warship Cheonan, which sank in waters disputed by North Korea after a mysterious explosion, and provide a definitive explanation of what caused the disaster. But the signs are pointing more and more to the North Koreans, which is raising uncomfortable questions for the South Korean government of President Lee Myung-bak.
Salvage companies yesterday moved the stern of the splintered naval corvette Cheonan some 4.6 kilometers toward the coast of Baengnyeong Island as deteriorating weather conditions threatened to further hamper the salvage operations.
Earlier in the day, they finished tying two metal chains around the stern, where all of the 44 missing sailors are thought to be trapped. Using a crane, they moved it to shallower waters, with a depth of about 25 meters. It was previously 45 meters underwater.
Certain signs of damage suggest powerful blast from outside ship
The military managed to hoist a part of the sunken Cheonan’s stern above the waterline yesterday, and discovered several pieces missing, which suggests a strong blast from the outside sunk the ship.