July 23, 2010 08:05
The torpedo used in the North Korean attack of the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan in March was manufactured at a plant in Kaechon, South Pyongan Province in 2008, the U.S. Defense Department has told Seoul and Tokyo. The conclusion follows analysis in mid-June, the Sankei Shimbun reported Thursday.
U.S. intelligence authorities concluded based on analysis of confidential documents from their own networks and North Korea's that the torpedo's propulsion system was made at the January 18 Plant in Kaechon, the daily quoted Japanese government officials as saying.
U.S. intelligence agencies have been monitoring the plant, which they suspect of producing engine parts for ballistic missiles.
The U.S. also says it has new evidence that the North in 2008 planned to export torpedo propulsion systems to Latin American countries, the Sankei added.
After retrieving a torpedo propulsion shaft from the seabed at the scene where the Cheonan sank, an international inquiry concluded that the debris matched specifications of blueprints for North Korean torpedoes for export which it had obtained separately, but it was unable to pinpoint where the torpedo was made.
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