Cause of warship sinking might remain undetermined: S. Korean defense chief

17:33, April 19, 2010      

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Workers using a giant offshore crane salvages portion of the sunken South Korean naval ship Cheonan off Baengnyeong Island, South Korea, Thursday, April 15, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP Photo)

South Korea's defense chief said Monday that a cause of the mysterious sinking of a naval vessel into waters near a tense border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) might remain undetermined indefinitely, local media reported.

"We can guess the warship could have been (hit) by a torpedo or a sea mine, but there is a possibility that this case would remain indefinitely unresolved due to a lack of physical evidence,"he was quoted as telling the parliament by Seoul's Yonhap News Agency. "We are open to all possibilities, but we never said there's no need to link the incident to North Korea (DPRK)," Kim reportedly said, adding that the authorities initially suspected the DPRK's involvement in the incident.

The 1,200-ton corvette went down late last month into waters near the disputed maritime border, a scene of fatal naval skirmishes in the past decade, following an unexplained blast that split the vessel in half.

Fifty-eight crew members were rescued alive from the sinking ship, and many bodies of missing sailors have been recovered since salvage operations started earlier this week.

The investigation team looking into the incident announced last week that the likely cause of the incident seems to be an external explosion, but shied away from giving a clear answer.

Source: Xinhua


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