South Korean Navy ship sinks off North Korean border, sailors die

Posted Mar 26, 2010 by Christopher Szabo
A South Korean naval vessel sank off the Korean Peninsula’s North-South divide, reportedly killing 100 crew members on board. Officials played down North Korea's involvement despite earlier reports.
The US Secretary of the Navy  Dr. Donald C. Winter  visits South Korea s Hyundai ship works.
The US Secretary of the Navy, Dr. Donald C. Winter, visits South Korea's Hyundai ship works.
Reuters says many of the sailors aboard are feared dead. The agency quoted South Korean YTN TV network, which said the sinking may be due to a torpedo attack. Later, Reuters reports North Korea is likely not involved in the ship's sinking.
"It is premature to discuss the cause of this sinking," presidential Blue House spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye told Reuters on Saturday. "It is not clear whether North Korea was involved."
Reuters also reports the Yonhap news agency quoted a presidential official saying satellite pictures "showed no sign of the North Korean military in the area at the time of the sinking."
Reports on North Korea's interference may have something to do with the country making threatening motinos with its rocket armoury. Also, North Korea in recent weeks said it would strengthen its defences to balance US-South Korean military drills earlier in the month.
The BBC says more than 50 sailors have been rescued from the sea near Baengnyeong island by South Korean naval and coast guard ships. The island is in a disputed zone.
The incident follows other recent incidents where North Korean artillery have fired into the South as well as various sea border incidents.