Extra! Korea

March 27, 2010

Did North Korea sink a South Korean vessel in the West Sea?

Filed under: North Korea — extrakorea @ 1:06 am

Brian who-used-to-be-in-Jeollanamdo first brought us the story of a South Korean vessel sinking in the West Sea under mysterious circumstances. It occurred near the Northern Limit Line, which North Korea has never accepted, and there have been naval clashes there before, in 1999, 2002, and 2009.

Did the North Koreans sink it? Here’s what today’s newspapers are saying:

The source said Friday that the 1,200-ton patrol ship was probably attacked by North Korea, citing that another South Korean patrol ship near the area fired at an unidentified target toward North Korea.

(KBS World)

South Korean officials are not yet pointing any fingers but say they are not ruling out the possibility that the vessel was the target of a North Korean torpedo attack. Lee says a South Korean naval vessel detected an unidentified object on its radar and fired several warning shots. He says he cannot confirm what the object was.

(Chosun Ilbo)

The unidentified object may have been a flock of birds.

A South Korean vessel fired warning shots toward the North around the time of the incident after its radar detected a suspicious object, he said. It was believed to be a flock of birds, he [Rear Admiral Lee] added.

However …

“For now, it is not certain whether North Korea is related” to the incident, she [presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye] added.

(Korea Herald)

One report, quoting the joint chiefs of staff, said the target turned out to be a flock of birds.

[ snip ]

There was no sign of the North’s military in the area where the ship sank, Yonhap said citing officials.

(BBC News)

But …

Earlier in the day, North Korean forces conducted artillery firing drills in the area, according to military sources.

(Korea Herald)

A Navy source who asked for anonymity told the JoongAng Ilbo “there’s a very low possible [possibility] that a Patrol Combat Corvette would sink due to internal explosion,” and “We should not rule out the possibility that it may be a North Korean attack.”

(Joongang Daily)

“Let’s not jump to conclusions here,” [United States] State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said, responding to a question about any North Korean involvement. “I’m not aware of any evidence to that effect. But I think the authoritative source here would be the South Korean government.”

(Yonhap News)

As of this writing, 58 of the crew of 104 have been rescued, and 46 are still missing.


ROK Drop has a post detailing some of the recent tensions with/provocations by North Korea. If this was indeed an attack (which won’t be known until the wreckage is inspected), it may be one of many death throes of the Kim Jong-il regime.


  1. […] Filed under: North Korea — extrakorea @ 4:37 am While looking for updates on the sinking of a South Korean vessel, I stumbled upon a timely article by B.R. Meyers. It’s excellent. (Normally, I try not to […]

    Pingback by Timely, excellent article by B.R. Meyers on North Korea « Extra! Korea — March 27, 2010 @ 4:37 am

  2. […] — extrakorea @ 2:52 am There’s still no public announcement as to the cause of the sinking of the South Korean vessel. ROK Drop has a post in which he links to various sources that claim that the explosion was caused […]

    Pingback by Could a mine have sunk South Korea’s vessel? « Extra! Korea — March 28, 2010 @ 2:52 am

  3. 1 So the south fired at a flock of birds and the north sub thinking it was under attack fired back ?
    2 The sub was in the souths waters and was fired on ?
    3 The north sub fired withnot orders.Giving the south the chance it was looking for ?
    4 or the norths sub fired with orders.
    5 the flock of birds was made up?

    Comment by craig — August 17, 2010 @ 10:28 am

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