Extra! Korea

March 29, 2010

Mine now considered “most likely cause” of vessel’s sinking

Filed under: North Korea — extrakorea @ 10:02 am

It looks like my hunch now has some support.

Of the four possible causes — internal explosion, collision with a reef, explosion of a naval mine or a torpedo attack — the government was most drawn to the likelihood of a naval mine, a Cheong Wa Dae official said yesterday.

“Judging from what the captain of Cheonan said and the condition of the ship, the possibility of a naval mine explosion seems a bit higher than the other three,” the official said.

[ snip ]

Several survivors from the sunken ship reportedly ruled out the possibility of an internal explosion or a collision with a reef, drawing attention to the scenarios of a mine explosion or a torpedo attack.

[ snip ]

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said in a parliamentary hearing yesterday that there was no South Korean naval mine in the West Sea area.

“There is no South Korean naval mine along the west coast,” Kim said in response to a question by a lawmaker on the parliamentary committee for defense.

[ snip ]

Another military official said a mine laid underwater during the 1950-53 Korean War could have surfaced, noting that mines from then were often found in the West Sea.

The South Korean navy practiced placing naval mines during the Korea-U.S. military drill earlier this month but not in the waters around Baekyeong island, he said.

North Korea reportedly has defensive minefields near the disputed inter-Korean sea border.

The country that lost track of its naval mine should be responsible for an accident caused by the mines it placed, according to international law experts.

(Korea Herald)

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young cautiously raised the possibility that the ill-fated Cheonan may have hit a sea mine laid by North Korea.

[ snip ]

He said, “North Korea’s sea mines might have been floating in our territorial waters.” However, Kim refused to comment on whether the mines had been placed by the North intentionally or had drifted into South Korean waters.

He rejected the possibility of a blast caused by South Korean mines. The minister also played down the possibility of a torpedo attack.

North Korea bought about 4,000 sea mines from the Soviet Union during the Korean War and was believed to have laid about 3,000 of them both in the eastern and western waters of the Korean Peninsula, Kim noted.

“Almost all mines were removed, but not 100 percent,” he said. “A North Korean mine was found (in South Korean waters) in 1984 and another was removed in 1995.”

(Korea Times)

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3 Comments »

  1. This begs the question: If true, what should we don about it?

    Comment by kushibo — March 30, 2010 @ 5:36 am

  2. Would it be prudent to choose a military target and go after it? If so, what kind, where, and with how much strength?

    Any military attack on the NorKs will give them something to wrap their “the whole world is against us” propaganda.

    Should the goal be to punitive, to teach Pyongyang not to do this again, or should the aim be to topple the regime or at least cause turmoil?

    I think that toppling the regime would be a very bad idea considering how ill-prepared South Korea is for such. Causing turmoil could lead to inadvertent regime change.

    Should any attack be done while Kim Jong-il is away in China?

    If (a very big “if”) we’re going to attack them anyway, might as well go for the Poison Dwarf himself.

    Or should economic sanctions be the way to go?

    I think so. Economic sanctions, withholding of food aid, fertilizer, etc.

    If so, what kind and for how long, or would they be “permanent”?

    Until the NorKs apologize, through actions, not words. Considering the kamikaze-inspired rhetoric that B.R.Myers has described, that could well translate into “permanent.”

    Should South Korea go to the UN and complain there?

    Or else we will be very, very angry with you. And we will write you a letter telling you how angry we are.

    How much response would be too much response, enough for Pyongyang to respond with similar attacks or worse?

    After eight years of having South Korea bend over (and get butt!@#$ed by the NorKs), we are in new, unexplored territory.

    Comment by extrakorea — March 30, 2010 @ 8:26 am

    • Extra Korea wrote:
      Any military attack on the NorKs will give them something to wrap their “the whole world is against us” propaganda.

      Yes, I was making that point, too. In fact, that may be the plan with all this: to whip up support for the government at a time when so many are disgruntled.

      I think that toppling the regime would be a very bad idea considering how ill-prepared South Korea is for such. Causing turmoil could lead to inadvertent regime change.

      But it has to be done sometime. And I don’t think the time will be of our choosing.

      If (a very big “if”) we’re going to attack them anyway, might as well go for the Poison Dwarf himself.

      Ah, true, but I’m just thinking the regime might fall more quickly if he were outside the country.

      I think so. Economic sanctions, withholding of food aid, fertilizer, etc.

      That can be a bit cruel, but it might work.

      Until the NorKs apologize, through actions, not words. Considering the kamikaze-inspired rhetoric that B.R.Myers has described, that could well translate into “permanent.”

      In other words, back to the pre-Kim DJ era.

      After eight years of having South Korea bend over (and get butt!@#$ed by the NorKs), we are in new, unexplored territory.

      Actually, I think we’d just be back to old, well-explored territory, i.e., the Chun/Roh Taewoo era and before.

      Comment by kushibo — March 31, 2010 @ 6:58 am


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