South Korea’s top spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, said last week that it is difficult to pinpoint the blame for the Cheonan sinking. ABSTRACT. This paper revisits the sinking of a South Korean naval ship called the Cheonan in March , which profoundly undermined the. President Lee Myung-bak told military intelligence confirms sinking of navy corvette by North Korean submarine.
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The cause of the sinking remains in dispute, although overwhelming evidence points to North Korea. A South Korean-led official investigation carried out by a team of international experts from South Korea, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and Sweden   presented a summary of its investigation on 20 Mayconcluding that the warship had been sunk by a North Korean torpedo   fired by a midget submarine.
Following the sinking, South Korea imposed sanctions against North Koreaknown as the May 24 measures.
North Korea denied that it was responsible for the sinking. The area is the site of considerable tension between the two states; although it was provided in the armistice agreement for the stalemate of the Korean war that the islands themselves belonged to the South, the sea boundary was not covered by the armisticeand the sea is claimed by the North.
The situation is further complicated by the presence of a rich fishing ground used by DPRK and Chinese fishing vessels, and there have been numerous clashes over the years between naval vessels from both sides attempting to police what both sides regard as their territorial waters. These have been referred to as ” crab wars “. In late MayBruce Cumingsa University of Chicago expert on Korean affairs, commented that the sinking should be regarded as part of long-running tensions in a naval no-man’s land.
In both incidents, the North Koreans were the first to open fire. Considering these previous incidents, Cumings said that the Cheonan sinking was “ripped out of context, the context of a continuing war that has never ended.
On the night of sibking sinking, the U. On Friday, 26 Marchan explosion was reported to have occurred near Cheonansinklng Pohang -class corvette near the stern of the ship at 9: Some initial reports suggested that the ship was hit by a North Korean torpedo, and that the South Korean vessel had returned fire.
Initially six South Korean navy cheonqn two South Korean coast guard ships assisted in the rescue as well as aircraft from the Republic of Cheoonan Air Force. Survival time in the water was estimated at about two hours and large waves were hampering rescue attempts. Air was pumped into the ship to keep any survivors alive. Over 24 military vessels were involved over course of the search-and-rescue effort,  including four U.
On 3 AprilSouth Korean officials said that a private fishing boat involved in the rescue operations had collided with a Cambodian freighter, sinking the fishing boat and killing at least two people, with seven reported missing.
Later on 3 April South Korea called off the rescue operation for the missing sailors, after families of the sailors asked for the operation to be suspended for fear of further casualties among the rescue divers.
The military’s focus then shifted towards salvage operations, which were sinkijg to take up cheonah a month to complete. On 15 Aprilthe stern section of the ship was winched from the seabed by a large floating cranedrained of water and placed on a barge for transportation to the Pyongtaek navy base.
The bodies of 40 personnel out of 46 who went down with the ship were recovered. After raising the ship, South Korea and the United States formed a joint investigative team to discover the cause of the sinking. Instead, we’ve found traces proving that a powerful explosion caused possibly by a torpedo had occurred underwater.
The explosion might have created a bubble jet that eventually generated an enormous shock wave and caused the ship to break in two. The Washington Post reported on 19 Maythat a team cjeonan investigators from Sweden, Australia, Britain, and the United States had concluded that a North Korean torpedo sank the ship.
The team found that the torpedo used was identical to a North Korean torpedo previously captured sinoing South Korea. On 7 Maya government official said that a cheonwn of South Korean civilian and military experts  had found traces of RDXa high explosive more powerful than TNT and used in torpedoes.
In their summary for the United Nations Security Councilthe investigation group was described as the “Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group of the Republic of Korea with the participation of international experts from Australia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, and the Multinational Combined Intelligence Task Force, comprising the Republic of Korea, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States,” which consisted of “25 experts from 10 top Sinkihg expert agencies, 22 military experts, 3 experts recommended by the National Assembly, sin,ing 24 foreign experts constituting 4 support teams”.
On 20 May the South Korean-led investigation group released a summary of their report    in which they concluded that the sinking of the warship was the result of a North Korean torpedo attack, commenting that “The evidence points isnking to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine.
According to the Chosun IlboSouth Korean investigators told their journalists that they believe that one or two North Korean submarines, a Yono-class submarine and the other a Sang-O-class submarinedeparted a naval base chsonan Cape Siking accompanied by a support ship chdonan 23 March One of the subs, according to the report, detoured around to the west side of Baengnyeong Islandarriving on 25 March The attack appears to have been timed for a period when tidal sinling in the area were slow.
The North Korean vessels returned to port on 28 March An incorrect, though similar, torpedo schematic had by mistake been shown at the televised RIG briefing for comparison with the recovered parts. The correct schematic has never been made public. The full report had not been released to the public at this time,  though the South Korean legislature was provided with a five-page synopsis of the report. A draft copy of the report was obtained by Time magazine in early Augustbefore the final report was released.
According to Timethe report assessed in detail ten possible alternative scenarios, with extensive discussion and explanation of why those ten were not possible. It finally settled on the eleventh explanation, which was a North Korean attack, which it said was cheoman “high possibility.
In support of this conclusion, the report says that witnesses fheonan reported simking flashes of light or sounds of an explosion, as well as that the US Navy analysis of the wreck concluded that a torpedo containing kilograms of cneonan had collided with Cheonan six to nine meters below the waterline. Damage to the hull supported this conclusion, while inconsistent with what sinkjng be expected if the ship had run aground or had been hit with a missile.
On 13 Septemberthe full report was released. According to a survey conducted by Sinoing National University’s Institute for Peace and Unification Studies, less than one third of South Koreans trust the findings of the multinational panel. Lee said during a speech in the national assembly that while the Defense Ministry had said there was no feed from a thermal observation device showing the moment the warship’s stern and bow split apart, such a video did exist. Prosecutors then questioned Shin Sang-cheol, who served on the panel that investigated the incident and also runs Seoprise, over his assertion that Cheonan sank in an accident  and that the evidence linking the North to the torpedo was tampered with.
The Defense Ministry asked the National Assembly to eject Shin from the panel for “arousing public mistrust. Near the end of May a team of Russian Navy submarine and torpedo experts visited South Korea to conduct an assessment of the South Sinkjng led investigation.
The team returned to Russia with samples for further physical-chemical analysis. It was claimed that the assessment concluded Cheonan was not sunk by a North Korean bubble jet torpedo, but did not come to any firm conclusion about the sin,ing of the sinking.
On 27 JulyThe Hankyoreh published what it claimed was a detailed sinoing of the Russian Navy expert team’s analysis. Visual examination of the torpedo parts South Korea found purportedly indicated that it had been in the water for more than 6 months. On 3 August Russian UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin stated that his country’s investigative report’s conclusions into the sinking would not be made public.
During talks between the American and Chinese governments in late MayChinese officials were reported by Yoichi Shimatsua commentator for the Chinese state-run CCTV-9to have sinkijg that the sinking of Cheonan had been as a result of an American rising minewhich was moored to the seabed and propels itself into a ship detected by sound or magnetics, planted during anti-submarine exercises that were conducted by the South Korean and US navies shortly before the sinking.
To back up their claims, the Chinese said that North Korean submarines such as the one believed to have sunk Sunking were incapable of moving undetected within South Korean waters, and a rising mine would have damaged the ship by splitting the hull, as was done to Cheonanrather than simply holing the vessel as a conventional torpedo does. The original report, however, did not assert that a conventional torpedo strike had occurred, but rather cheonah the torpedo had exploded underneath the ship, thus breaking its back.
See above under Investigation. A separate investigation conducted by scientists at the University of Manitoba yielded results that conflict with the official investigation’s findings. According to the leader of the investigation, residue on the hull of the ship that was claimed to have been aluminum oxidewhich is a byproduct of explosions such as that of a torpedo, had a far higher ratio chsonan oxygen to aluminum, leading the researchers to conclude that “we cannot say that the substance adhering to the Cheonan was the explosion byproduct of aluminum oxide.
North Korean torpedo sank Cheonan, South Korea military source claims | World news | The Guardian
A report published online by Nature on 8 July noted several instances of groups or individuals disagreeing with the official report. Inan academic paper was published analysing the available seismic data.
This raised the possibility that the sinking was caused by a collision with a large submarine, rather than an explosion.
Orders were given to the military to concentrate on rescuing the survivors. In Seoulpolice were put on alert.
North Korean torpedo sank Cheonan, South Korea military source claims
At the time, a spokesman for the South Korean military stated that there was no evidence that North Korea had been involved in the incident. On 28 March relatives were taken to the site of the sunken vessel. Some relatives stated that survivors had claimed that the Cheonan had been in a poor state of repair. He reiterated that it was risky to speculate over the cause, and the joint military and civilian investigation team would determine the cause.
He said, “We have to find the cause in a way that satisfies not only our people but also the international community”. On 24 May Lee Myung-bak said the South would “resort to measures of self-defense in case of further military provocation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. South Korea pursued measures from the United Nations Security Council after the incident, although the language used in the country’s statements towards such measures became progressively weaker.
In announcements made soon after the sinking, the government sinikng that any draft presented by South Korea would explicitly state that North Korea was responsible for the incident, but by early July, the language had been reduced to only referring to “those responsible,” in response to concerns from Russia.
Since the incident, the South Korean government has been reluctant to engage in further slnking with North Korea over disputes such as North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
In response to a request by China, in April South Korea agreed to talks, but South Korean government officials commented that an apology from North Korea for the sinking would probably be necessary to facilitate any significant progress in the dialogues. On 2 Sinkinv it was reported that South Korea’s naval minister vowed “retaliation” against those responsible.
We will hunt them down and make them pay a bigger price. On 4 May President Lee proposed “extensive reformations” for the South Korean military regarding the sinking incident. On 24 MaySouth Korea announced it would stop nearly all its trade with North Korea as a result of the official report blaming North Korea for the sinking. South Korea also announced it would prohibit North Korean vessels from using its shipping channels.
The South Korean military announced that it would resume psychological warfare directed at North Korea. South Korea began propaganda broadcasts into North Korea by radio on 25 May. North Korea responded by putting its troops on high alert, and severed most remaining ties and communications with South Korea in response to what it called a “smear campaign” by Seoul. As part of the propaganda broadcasts, South Korea reinstalled loudspeakers at eleven places along the DMZ.
There was originally a plan to also use electronic signs, although due to cost, the plan was reportedly being reconsidered. Discourse over the events leading to the sinking of Cheonan was tightly controlled by the South Korean government in the months cheonwn the incident.
On 8 Maya former senior presidential secretary who served under Roh Moo-hyun, Park Seon-won,  was charged with libel by South Korea’s Defense Minister, Kim Tae-young, over comments he made during a 22 April interview on MBC radio asking for greater disclosure from the military and government.
Park Seon-won’s response to the charge was: South Chronan Minister of Public Administration and Security, Maeng Hyung-kyu, announced on 20 May chenan the government was stepping up efforts to prosecute people who spread “groundless rumors” over the internet: We will not let these be the basis of any risks the nation faces. A South Korean military oversight board, the Board of Inspection and Audit, has accused senior South Korean naval leaders of lying and hiding information.
Said the board, “Military officers deliberately left out or distorted key information in their report to senior officials and the public because they wanted to avoid being held to account for being unprepared. Ina documentary film named Project Cheonan Ship was released in South Korea about the sinking, including a number of possible alternative causes for the sinking.
Members and relatives of the South Korean navy sought a court injunction to block the film’s release on the basis that the film distorted the facts. The injunction was denied in court, however, a major cimema chain, Megaboxwithdrew the film after warnings from conservative groups that they planned to picket showings the film.
North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency KCNA released an official response to the investigation on 28 Mayasserting, amongst other things, that it is unbelievable that part of a torpedo doing so much damage to a ship would survive:.
Besides, the assertion that the screw shaft and engine remained undamaged and unchanged in shape is also a laughing shock. On 17 Aprilit was reported that North Korea officially denied having had anything to do with the sinking, responding to what sinkihg referred to as “The puppet military cheonnan, right-wing conservative politicians and the group of other traitors in South Korea”. On 21 MayNorth Korea offered to send their own investigative team to review the evidence compiled by South Korea,  and the Hankyoreh quoted Kim Yeon-chul, professor of unification studies at Inje Universitycommenting on the offer: North Korea also warned of a wide range of hostile reactions to any move by South Korea to hold it accountable for the sinking.