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article imageHopes fade for missing South Korean navy sailors

By Christopher Szabo     Mar 27, 2010 in World
Seoul - Hopes of finding 46 South Korean navy sailors are fading after their ship sank in frigid waters near the North-South Korean sea border on Friday.
The BBC reported that South Korean military divers had arrived on the scene to search for the missing men, but waters at near-freezing temperatures and rough seas were slowing down rescue work.
Fears that the sinking of the 1,200 tonne Choenan was caused by North Korean military action have subsided, with no concrete proof it attacked the naval patrol vessel.
Fifty-eight sailors have been rescued in what is becoming one of South Korea’s worst sea disasters. The ship sank off the West Coast in an area that has seen conflict between the two navies in the past at a time of heightened tensions, but South Korean Joint Chiefs of Staff spokesman Park Sung-Woo said there was no sign of "abnormal movement" by North Korea.
Reuters says there was apparently no North Korean involvement in the sinking. Reuters quoted a senior government spokesman:
Given the investigations by government ministries so far, it is the government's judgement that the incident was not caused by North Korea, although the reason for the accident has not been determined yet.
The two Koreas fought a bitter war from 1950-1953 and have never signed a peace treaty, only a truce. Relations between the two countries are tense as a result of North Korean missile experiments as well as joint South Korean-US military maneauvres earlier this month.
More about South Korea, Warship, North korea, Sunk
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