Cheonan Sinking: South Korean Ship Sunk?

A South Korean naval ship, the Cheonan, with more than 100 on board was sinking Friday near North Korea and Seoul was looking into whether it was due to a torpedo attack by the North.

Word that a South Korean naval ship named Cheonan sank in the tense waters around the disputed maritime border with communist North Korea set off panic: The president convened an emergency meeting and the military dispatched a fleet of ships. But was the South Korean naval ship sinking because of North Korea?

The Korean Peninsula ranked high on most Davos participants' lists of the world's most dangerous flash spots. Reports today that a South Korean warship Cheonan has sunk at night in part of the Yellow Sea disputed by the two Koreas is a significant raising of the risk level.

Did the Cheonan South Korean Ship sink because of North Korea?

asked by Gold in Places of the World | 3206 views | 03-26-2010 at 11:06 PM

The South Korean Ship Cheonan sank Friday evening with 104 people aboard after an unexplained explosion tore a hole in its hull. The military said earlier that 58 people had been rescued.

Apparently the explosion occurred in the lower reaches of the ship, near the stern. The cause at this point is unknown. Seoul has been careful not to attribute responsibility for the sinking.

Panic ensued after it was reported that the Cheonan ship may have been attacked, prompting South Korean President Lee Myung-bak to call an emergency meeting and send troops to the scene of the incident. A report by South Korea’s Yonhap said six navy ships and several helicopters were dispatched to help rescue the sailors.

But news involving South Korean ships or North Korean ships is not uncommon, as the two nations frequently patrol the Sea Of Japan, also known as the East Sea in South Korea and Korea East Seat in North Korea.

The two Koreas remain locked in a state of war because their three-year conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, in 1953.

Since then, the two Koreas have fought three bloody skirmishes in the Yellow Sea waters. And in January, North Korea fired about 30 artillery rounds not far from Baeknyeong; the South Korean military fired 100 warning shots in response.

The South Korean government issued a statement saying the reason for the incident remains unclear.

"For now, it is not certain whether North Korea is related" to the incident, South Korean spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Yonhap.

While the rescues continue, officials were holding an emergency meeting of ministers handling security-related matters, but the focus remained on rescuing South Koreans on the ship, the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Here are some implications of the incident and how a possible North Korean attack would impact regional security and sputtering talks to end Pyongyang's nuclear arms ambitions.

- The North will not escalate tensions to the state of war, which would be a suicidal move for leader Kim Jong-il because his ill-equipped army would be no match for the advanced militaries of South Korea and its biggest ally the United States.

A senior U.S. national security official said that South Koreans had quietly issued a statement saying it was unlikely North Korea was involved in the sinking of their naval vessel.

Video debating the Cheonan South Korean Ship Sinking.

answered by Marlon | 03-26-2010 at 11:17 PM

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