June 15, 2010 10:30
The civic group People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy e-mailed the UN Security Council on Friday raising doubts over the inquiry into the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan. It claimed further investigation is "necessary."
The leftwing group sent the e-mail three days before a group of South Korean experts briefed UNSC members Monday on their conclusion that North Korea sank the warship. "It's like getting shot in the back by our own side as we try to gather international support," said one government official.
Council members said the PSPD e-mailed a two-page letter plus a 20-page report containing suspicions about the investigation. It called on the council to make an "objective and rational decision" since the response of the Lee Myung-bak administration could trigger "serious political and diplomatic conflict."
The move is unprecedented in the history of the UNSC and has apparently stirred up some controversy among member nations. One council official checked with the South Korean delegation at the UN whether the group really exists.
The group demanded its report be considered along with the South Korean government's investigations, but the UNSC president decided not to accept the PSPD's request since the council has never reviewed materials submitted by a civic group.
After the PSPD e-mailed the council, the North Korean delegation to the UN sought to give its own explanation before the council, which has been scheduled immediately after South Korea's session.
Cheong Wa Dae and the Foreign Ministry told reporters Monday that attempts to block the government's diplomatic efforts are "extremely regrettable." A government spokesman said, "This is not a matter involving progressives or conservatives but a matter of common sense. How will the international community view South Korea?" Conservative groups issued statements condemning the PSPD.
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