May 21, 2010 09:47
Investigators have concluded that the Navy corvette Cheonan was attacked by a North Korean-made sonar-tracking torpedo laden with 250 kg of high explosives on March 26, which caused it to break in two.
Investigators believe that a 130-ton North Korean midget submarine left a naval base at Cape Bipagot around March 23, took a detour on the high seas to infiltrate South Korean waters near Baeknyeong Island, attacked the Cheonan at the night of March 26 and returned to base around March 28.
Yoon Duk-yong, who led the international team of investigators, on Thursday told reporters, "We have reached the clear conclusion that the Cheonan was sunk as the result of an external underwater explosion caused by a torpedo made in North Korea." The team cited "conclusive evidence" -- the rear part of a torpedo collected from the sinking site -- which was analyzed based on classified materials the South Korean military obtained.
"They perfectly match the schematics of the CHT-02D torpedo included in introductory brochures exported by North Korea," Yoon said. "No. 1" was handwritten on the rear part of the torpedo's propulsion shaft and matches the serial number on another North Korean torpedo the military found seven years ago, Yoon added.
The combination of number and Korean character is used only by North Korea.
Experts from the U.S., the U.K., Australia and Sweden were present at the press conference. Rear Adm. Thomas Eccles of the U.S. Navy, a member of the team, said the investigators used various accounts and scientific tools for the analysis and agree with the conclusion of the investigation.
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