Skip to comments.SK President Cheong Wa Dae dismisses N. Korean sub movements near sunken ship
Posted on 03/31/2010 8:24:19 AM PDT by jhpigott
Cheong Wa Dae dismisses N. Korean sub movements near sunken ship
SEOUL, March 31 (Yonhap) -- The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae Wednesday dismissed allegations of North Korean submarine movements in waters where a South Korean navy ship sank after an unexplained explosion last Friday.
Local media raised the possibility of North Korean involvement in the sinking of the 1,200-ton Cheonan, saying that four North Korean submarines left their base in Ongjin County before the sinking, while only two submarines returned to the base after the sinking and the whereabouts of the other two subs were unknown.
I work for a former Army CO who was stationed in Korea and he told me that he sometimes felt he was there to keep the South from going North as much as he was there to keep the North from going South.
“Roosevelt dismisses six Japanese aircraft carriers north west of Hawaii as source of attack on Pearl Harbour. Blames Jews on SS St. Louis.”
That’s because the politicians don’t want to offend the NorKs. It might hamper their future reunification under Mr. Ronery.
Curiouser and curiouser . . . long read, with some new details . . . and makes things as clear as mud
Top brass ordered the Sokcho to fire
Image on the ships radar was first considered relevant to the sinking
April 01, 2010
The South Korean Navy fired northward on the night of the Cheonans sinking at the order of the upper military chain of command, with orders to destroy a perceived threat on radar, a senior military official told the JoongAng Ilbo yesterday.
The 1,200-ton patrol combat corvette Sokcho shot at an unidentified object after the Cheonan sank on Friday night near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea near the inter-Korean border. The National Defense Ministry later explained that the target on the radar was identified as a flock of birds. They did not disclose at the time that the order came from the upper military chain of command.
At the time, the Sokcho was operating a mission in the nearby waters and rushed to the explosion site to assist the Cheonan, said the military official. And it found an unidentified object moving fast toward the Northern Limit Line, and the military command ordered the Sokcho to fire its 76-millimeter guns.
The Sokcho fired 130 shots toward the object 90 minutes after the Cheonans sinking.
The command believed that the object was relevant to the sinking, so an order to shoot to destroy was made, the source said. But the Sokcho made sure not to fire beyond the NLL. The Northern Limit Line is the de facto maritime border between the two Koreas in the Yellow Sea.
According to the source, the object still crossed the NLL and moved into North Korean waters. The military, therefore, concluded that it was a flock of birds. A Blue House official also said the conclusion was made because the movements were random on the radar.
A Navy specialist, however, raised skepticism, noting that the North could have deceived the South. Birds fly at the speed of 30 to 40 knots, and the speed is about the same as the Norths semi-submersibles, he said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. It could have been a deception tactic of the North.
He said the North had infiltrated the South in the past by exploiting the limitations of the radar on ships such as the Cheonan and Sokcho, which is incapable of indicating the altitude of an object.
The Cheonan was near Baengnyeong Island after being deployed forward because of the latest reinforcement of the Norths combat capabilities and the possibility of missile launch on the west coast, the military source said. Because of the poor weather conditions, the Cheonan was moved south of the island on Friday night temporarily, he added.
Meanwhile, a top government official denied a media report about North Korean submarine activity at the time of the sinking. The Chosun Ilbo reported Wednesday that U.S. and South Korean intelligence authorities had detected a submarine disappearing and reappearing at a North Korean submarine base on the west coast not far from the site of the wreck around Friday, the day the ship sank.
Denying the report, the official said there was no suspicious movement in the North. We have counted the numbers and locations of North Korean submarines before and after the sinking, but there was no special movement, he said.
Another official, however, said spy satellites have limits in detecting semi-submersibles. A military source also said a North Korean semi-submersible is capable of being armed with two torpedoes.
He also said sonar detection of semi-submersibles in the waters near the Baengnyeong Island is difficult because of fast currents.
Navy specialists said a North Korean submersibles torpedo attack would be more likely a possibility. They also said the North could have used an unmanned vessel to attack the Cheonan, adding that Pyongyang had once distributed catalogs of the new remote-controllable ships to Latin American nations in 2007 for arms exports.
Amidst growing speculation about the cause of the sinking of the Cheonan, a Defense Ministry source said it will include civilian experts on its investigation team to heighten its credibility. Since the cut sections of the hull were confirmed by divers during the rescue operation, we have decided to dispatch the investigation team to probe the cause of the sinking, the source said. Speculation is rampant and we believe it is necessary to clarify the cause as soon as possible.
Divers who had managed to confirm the cut sections of the Cheonans bow reportedly informed the ministry that the sections were cut clean, as if it was split with a knife, further deepening the mystery on what caused the sinking.
Rescue efforts for the 46 missing sailors also continued yesterday, but the poor weather conditions have hampered the divers underwater mission. The military said yesterday that divers have managed to open one door each on the bow and stern. Opening the door on the stern does not mean that we will be able to enter right away, said Commodore Lee Ki-sik of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We go in slowly and explore a path to enter further.
Lee said the weather conditions have worsened drastically, hampering the operation. The search was hindered by 2.5-meter (8-foot) high waves, 12-meter-per-second winds and rain, Lee said. The currents also flew at the speed of 5.6 knots, and the divers were forced to suspend their underwater mission scheduled for 9 a.m.
After a divers death during the rescue mission Tuesday, the military conducted a safety education seminar and medical checkups that night. Asked if the military plans to improve the gear for deep sea diving, Lee said the preparation will take at least three days. We will consider it, but the rescue operation is so urgent that we will continue our operation as it is now. As of now, the divers are using scuba gear to reach the stern, located 45 meters underwater.
Families of the missing sailors yesterday held a media conference, making three demands. They requested the government and the military to continue the rescue operation until the last sailor would be accounted for.
Expressing strong skepticism toward the militarys explanation about the situation, the families also demanded that all information about the rescue operation should be presented to them. An official session with the military authorities to ask questions was also demanded.
“-seems to me that the SK military is trying to play up the possibility of NK involvement,”
Tough position. the SK military has to admit it screwed up in a big way OR it has to be NK. Those seem to be the only real alternatives
“Tough position. the SK military has to admit it screwed up in a big way OR it has to be NK. Those seem to be the only real alternatives”
not an enviable position to be in at all
Why wasn’t the ship at GQ ? All hands should have had
their lifevests on and been at their stations.
An historically significant sarcastic analogy.
We don’t see enough of those. Good work.
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