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Gates was responding to a question posed by reporters at a Pentagon news conference whether South Korea's determination that North Korea had sunk the South Korean frigate Cheonan, killing 46 sailors on March 26th, was an act of war.
“This was an attack on South Korea, and South Korea needs to be in the lead on the way forward,” the defense secretary said.
Gates said the U.S. Defense Department supported the conclusions of a multilateral investigation into the attack that found a North Korean submarine fired a torpedo that sank the ship. “They’ve laid out some paths forward, and we will be consulting closely with them as they move forward,” he said referring to the South Korean military.