North Korea blamed for sinking warship

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The Independent Online

South Korea's foreign minister said today it was "obvious" that North Korea sank one of the South's warships in March, killing 46 sailors.

Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told reporters that investigators have enough evidence of North Korean involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan to take Pyongyang to the UN Security Council.

Mr Yu's comments are the first by a South Korean official clearly pointing the finger at North Korea for one of the worst attacks on the South since the two Koreas signed a truce in 1953 to end three years of fighting.

Asked if North Korea sank the ship, Mr Yu said: "I think it's obvious."

He declined to provide further details, saying the official results of the multinational investigation into the incident would be released tomorrow.

North Korea denied involvement in the sinking of the Cheonan.

However, investigators will lay out evidence showing that a North Korean torpedo attack triggered the explosion that sank the Cheonan near the Koreas' tense western sea border, a US official said in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Investigators collected damning evidence pointing to Pyongyang's involvement in the blast that blew the 1,200-ton warship apart during a routine patrolling mission in the Yellow Sea, local media said.

Fragments of a torpedo propeller found near the disaster site are similar to parts from a North Korean torpedo that South Korea obtained seven years ago, the Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported, citing unidentified government officials.

A serial number on the torpedo propeller was written in a font typically used in North Korea, and traces of explosives found in the wreckage resemble the gunpowder used in the North Korean torpedo retrieved in 2003, the paper said.