Thursday, April 22, 2010

S. Korean Ship Sunk Mysteriously

On March 26th the 1,200 ton South Korean Corvette "Cheonon" was sunk mysteriously in the West (Yellow) Sea while on routine patrol. 46 sailors were lost in the disaster.

The United States Navy sent a team of experts to assist the South Koreans in recovering the wreckage and determining what caused the sinking. The stern section of the ship has already been brought to the surface and the initial reports are that it does not appear to have been the result of either running aground or of an internal explosion.

The 2 most likely possibilities being explored are that it was either a mine (possibly left over from the Koren War) or a North Korean Torpedo. Authorities are confident that a close examination of the debris being recovered from the ocean floor will let them make a positive determination.

The North Korean radio has been quick to deny any involvement in the incident and is claiming that the "puppet government" of South Korea sunk the ship themselves at the direction of the west to discredit the North Koreans and stir up consensus for more sanctions against the North Korean dictatorship.

The people of South Korean have responded with shock and anger. The belief is that the North Korean government is behind the sinking. There is good reason for that assumption. North Korea frequently is behind cross border incidents and their navy is known to be very aggressive dealing with ships of any kind in those waters.

The incident presents a hard problem for the United States and South Korea. If it is determined that the North Koreans torpedoed the corvette, holding them responsible is going to be hard. A military response, which would normally be what is called for, could easily escalate into and major confrontation. Some people believe the North would like nothing better than to have an excuse to invade the south again. The only other response would be increasing sanctions but those have not shown to be particularly effective. South Korea has already said it would call on the United Nations to respond but we all know how ineffective that usually turns out.

Whatever they decide to do, the North Koreans must be penalized somehow. Failure to do that will result in more incidents like this one. The North Koreans are testing to see how far hey can push and they will continue until they are stopped or until something happens that will escalate out of control.

Today's Fun Picture

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