Serial Number on N.Korean Shell Strengthens Cheonan Evidence

      November 29, 2010 12:22

      A handwritten serial number found on one of the 122 mm North Korean artillery shells that fell on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday has reminded investigators of a key piece of evidence that implicated the North in the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan.

      A similar handwritten serial number was found on debris from the torpedo that sank the Cheonan in March. The military is analyzing the artillery shell and has yet to determine the origin of the ink and how the serial number was applied.

      Left: The handwritten serial number on one of the 122 mm North Korean artillery shells that fell on Yeonpyeong Island on Tuesday; Right: The similar serial number on debris from the torpedo that sank the Navy corvette Cheonan in March.

      South Korean netizens said the find disproves skeptics who claimed that it makes no sense for North Korea to number high-tech ordnance with a magic marker, because it shows that the North does exactly that. Conspiracy theorists claimed that it was South Korean investigators who put the serial number on the torpedo to put the blame on North Korea. "They said any traces of magic marker on a torpedo should have disappeared in the heat of the blast, but how do they explain the clear, handwritten serial number this time?" one netizen asked.

      But a military spokesman said more analysis of the writing and pattern on the artillery shell is needed.

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