June 30, 2010 11:05
In a blow to conclusions that are already under attack from leftwing politicians and activists, a team of experts that investigated the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan have admitted showing a diagram of the wrong North Korean torpedo when they presented their findings at a press conference on May 20.
When queried by journalists about discrepancies between the CHT-02D torpedo that attacked the Cheonan and the one depicted in the diagram, investigators said Tuesday that the pictured torpedo was of the model PT-97W and that the error was due to "a mix-up by a staff member while preparing for the presentation."
A South Korean military spokesman said the error was discovered after the press conference and a presentation of the evidence in front of the UN Security Council featured the correct diagram.
Investigators said they obtained information on the torpedo "from North Korean publications and CDs," adding they secured the materials through "separate routes." The diagram was on a CD. Asked why no traces of gunpowder were found on the fragments of the torpedo even though aluminum oxide was detected, the team said the propellant could have been pushed back and had no time to stick or it could have been washed away by currents under water. Only 36 out of 311 fragments from the Cheonan's hull contained traces of gunpowder, and small amounts of gunpowder were discovered on only one out of 40 fragments that had traces of aluminum oxide.
Regarding the numbering "1 beon" written on one of the torpedo's pieces, the investigative team said analysis of the ink confirmed that it was an oil-based magic marker made using the ingredient Solvent Blue 5, and it is trying to secure samples for comparison. The team said Solvent Blue 5 is commonly used in magic markers, which North Korea may have imported, but the marker cannot be traced to the North with certainty.
One journalist who attended the briefing said, "I was somewhat reassured by the scientific approach the team used to prove its point, and some of my suspicions have been resolved." But he added it was "not a satisfactory briefing since the team failed to offer a clear explanation regarding the column of water that was spotted and the twisted propeller."
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