Skip to comments.'N.Korean Officer' Says North Sank the Cheonan
Posted on 04/19/2010 10:57:50 PM PDT by TigerLikesRooster
'N.Korean Officer' Says North Sank the Cheonan
A North Korean Army officer has testified that the North Korean military attacked the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan before it sank in the West Sea on March 26, the head of a South Korean activist group claimed Monday. Choi Sung-yong of the Family Assembly Abducted to North Korea said, "It seems that the Cheonan was sunk in a premeditated North Korean operation."
Choi published a transcript of a telephone conversation with what he says is a senior North Korean Army officer.
According to the transcript, the officer says, "Thirteen commandos who left from Cape Bipagot sank the Cheonan. Many people as well as military officers already know who attacked the ship."
The officer claims the motive was revenge. "After the North lost the sea skirmish in November last year, Kim Jong-il gave an order to take revenge. He gave the order when he visited the naval fleet command in Nampo."
The officer according to the transcript claims Gens. Kim Yong-chol and U Dong-chuk traveled between Pyongyang and Nampo frequently to visit the fleet command to work out an operational plan. "Navy Commander Jong Myong-do stayed in Nampo until the mission was accomplished," he added.
Kim Yong-chol, the director of the Reconnaissance Bureau in charge of espionage operations against the South, has been consistently fingered by South Korean intelligence agents as the man behind the attack.
U Dong-chuk, the senior deputy chief of the State Security Department and a member of the National Defense Commission, and Navy Commander Jong Myong-do were promoted to full generals on Kim Il-sung's 98th birthday last Thursday. They were two of the four lieutenant generals who were promoted the same day.
Their promotions stoked suspicions here since U was promoted to a full general only a year after he was promoted to lieutenant general. Jong was promoted unexpectedly after his position became uncertain following North Korea's ignoble defeat in the sea skirmish last year.
"Some of the 13 commandos who left Cape Bipagot before they sank the Cheonan are acquaintances of mine," the alleged officer claims according to the transcript. "It seems it was such an important mission that a semi-submersible which was made originally for a crew of three was remodeled for the mission."
He claims the Cheonan's sinking lifted soldiers' morale and the 13 commandos "are being treated as heroes."
"They apparently spent a lot of time practicing camouflage by sneaking around fleet of North Korean and Chinese fishing boats operating near Baeknyeong Island," the officer says. "It seems likely that a bigger event will occur in the future given that they are operating also in the East Sea, camouflaging themselves there."
Commenting on North Korean broadcasts' denial of the North's involvement, the transcript has him saying, "It's natural for them to deny involvement, isn't it? We're tired since we've always been on emergency alert."
The waters around the site of Cheonan's sinking has notoriously strong currents(3~5 knots.) Another factor going for them is the presence of many fishing boats in the area, which would make it easier for them to sneak in, as this article mentions.
I saw news reports that the S. Koean people are up in arms about this. If this turns out to be true it doesn’t give the ROK much wiggle room short of military retaliation. This will mean war.
This sounds very likely. NK didn’t even need to do the mission on a given day against a given target. They could make several attempts on several targets of equal value, waiting for the best possible chance of success.
Since a large group of commandos is mentioned, probably there was no torpedo. Instead 6-8 swimmers were released near the SK ship. They approached the ship, installed explosives and left, to be picked up by the mini-sub. At some later time, when the sub was far enough (probably in NK waters, if not docked,) the explosives detonated.
In this case many swimmers would be needed to deliver a heavy, powerful explosive, and reliably (in darkness) connect the individual charges together for simultaneous detonation.
By the way, the currents are not always running in one direction. Some currents are reportedly change its direction at certain point in time. It was reported that the tide changed direction in less than 20 minutes of Cheonan’s explosion. I suppose it may have something to do with tide. The tide in this area is rather significant( some 30 feet difference between low and high tide. However, I am not an expert. I am just speculating.)
SK intelligence was aware of their activities mainly in east coast, but also suspected that similar operation is going on in the west coast.
So it is possible that one of their ambush teams got lucky and found 'a nice target.'
So do you think the ROK is going to back down like it appears that they are going to do? I would think that they lost the initiative for a military retaliation when they refused to do anything immediately after the sinking of the Cheonan. If they chose to strike now after waiting for so long, you know that the “international community” will be screaming bloody murder about unprovoked aggression.
That won't fly much as long as Chicom balks, which it has been.
Domestically, they could cut off whatever remaining business ventures or other economic projects for N. Korea. One possible scenario is to restrict NK's ship movement in the water between southern coast and Jeju island. NK ships have been allowed to sail through this water as part of 'appeasement policy.' However, it may not pan out.
IMHO, Chia Head figures that he has Lee by the ball with the threat of ruining SK's sovereign credit rating and G-20 summit hosted in SK coming fall.
On the other hand, domestic pressure is mounting. There are many folks who already call him coward (or petty merchants who can sell out country for spare changes.) These make up the conservative political base he cannot ignore.
So we don't know which way he will go domestically.
Interesting, thank you.
I want to understand the mission your envision where swimmers attached a large limpet mine to a ship underway.
Do you know that the Cheonan was steaming at the time, and at what speed? I don’t. She may have barely had way on.
Not likely .. the ship was reported as traveling a 12 knts ( per the skipper) at the time of the explosion.
You will find this very much of interest.
The mine could have been attached when the ship was still in harbor. There may be an anti-submarine net at that harbor, but swimmers can easily go through it. Without the net the mini-sub could approach even closer; there were many attacks within a harbor in World War II, and that was when every side was most alert.
The reason for this scenario is simple - why would anyone need a dozen commandos to launch a torpedo? That, of course, matters only if the information leaked from NK is reliable; but it may be a carefully engineered disinformation, the major export product of NK :-)
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