Defense Minister Debunks Rumors About Cheonan Sinking

      May 11, 2010 09:34

      Defense Minister Kim Tae-young on Monday confirmed that traces of high explosive RDX used in torpedoes were found in the wreckage of the Navy corvette Cheonan. "But claims that RDX is used only in the Western world are not true," he added.

      The defense minister in a press conference on Monday was keen to quell "claims based on inaccurate information about the sinking of the Cheonan," which he said "are detrimental to finding the cause of the incident."

      He said investigators have also collected several aluminum fragments from the split section of the vessel and are analyzing whether they are part of the ship or not. "At this point there is a high chance that they are from a torpedo, but it is too early to say anything with certainty."

      The minister said determining whether traces of explosives and small fragments come from a torpedo "is not easy. There is little information available about weapons manufactured by other countries and it must be obtained through limited channels, so all data is being shared between South Korea and the U.S."

      Responding to a theory that the corvette crashed into an American warship after getting stuck in a sand bar or reef, Kim said, "It is extremely regrettable that some people are still claiming that the Cheonan collided after running aground. No contact was detected with any objects in the water at the time of the sinking, while joint South Korean and U.S. military drills were taking place 189 km west of the site."

      Kim pledged the ministry will reveal the names of the investigators and explain the results of the probe to China and Russia.

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