Cheonan Investigators Find Pieces of Torpedo Propeller

      May 18, 2010 09:16

      Investigators have apparently discovered pieces of a propeller from a torpedo, which could provide valuable clues to exactly what caused the Navy corvette Cheonan to sink on March 26.

      "In a search using fishing trawlers, we recently discovered pieces of debris that are believed to have come from the propeller of the torpedo that attacked the Cheonan," a high-ranking government source said Monday. "Analysis of the debris shows it may have originated from China or a former Eastern-bloc country like the former Soviet Union."

      If conclusive evidence is found for North Korea's role in the attack, the government plans to implement sanctions against the North immediately after announcing the results of the investigation on Thursday. Officials gathered at the presidential office on Monday to discuss specific sanctions, including joint anti-submarine exercises by South Korean and U.S. forces, the resumption of psychological warfare against North Korea, blocking North Korean ships from waters off the coast of Jeju Island and a halt to all inter-Korean trade except the Kaesong Industrial Complex.

      A Chinese-made Yu-3 type torpedo like the one in this photo is presumed to have hit the Navy corvette Cheonan.

      Investigators already concluded that traces of explosives and aluminum debris found in the funnel and split section of the Cheonan are highly likely the same type used by former Eastern-bloc countries as well as North Korea in manufacturing torpedoes, and that the North is the only likely culprit given circumstantial evidence such as the movements of submarines around the time of the sinking.

      The investigators will announce the results on Thursday afternoon and show the media the split section of the corvette, which is currently in storage at a naval base in Pyeongtaek.

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