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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Questions about Cheonan Sinking - What's Available in English 天安艦沈没事件への疑問

Little has been reported in English on the growing suspicion about the outcome of the investigation of the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan during the joint military exercise of South Korea and the U.S., and more people demand for more thorough and scientific re-investigation. We will try to list what is available. Please see Part II too.

******This one by Stephen Gowan, a Canadian writer and activist is a must-read, full of credible quotes by South Korean officials denying the North's involvement and linking it to Japan-US military buildup in Okinawa and US arms sales to South Korean military.

"...a North Korean submarine is now said to have fired a torpedo which sank the Cheonan, but in the immediate aftermath of the sinking the South Korean navy detected no North Korean naval vessels, including submarines, in the area. Indeed, immediately following the incident defense minister Lee ruled out a North Korean torpedo attack, noting that a torpedo would have been spotted, and no torpedo had been spotted."

To read the whole article,
The Sinking of Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin Incident
http://gowans.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/the-sinking-of-the-cheonan-another-gulf-of-tonkin-incident/


******Here is a letter to Hillary Clinton from S. C. Shin, a maritime expert recommended by Korean National Assembly for investigation of the sinking of Cheonan, who disagreed to the conclusion of the Korean military administration and now has been sued for libel by them. Shin argues on Cheonan he could not see any sign of explosion or a torpedo. It was a grounding accident accompanied by a second collision accident. Shin summarizes his report as:

(1) The most important thing is there were two series of accidents not one.
(2) The 1st accident was 'Grounding' with the evidences above.
(3) The 'Grounding on a sand' made some damages and led flooding but itself didn't make those serious situation torn down in two.
(4) The 2nd accident hit a count-blow to sink.
(5) I couldn't find even a slight sign of 'Explosion'.
(6) The 2nd accident was 'Collision' with my analysis above.

For details, see:
http://www.seoprise.com/~bu/dk/Letter_to_Hillary_Clinton_US_Secretary_of_State.pdf

******Here is U.S. author and activist Bruce Gagnon's take on it.(bolded by PeacePhilosopher)
"Most activists in South Korea have been, and remain, suspicious about the official story surrounding the sinking of their Navy ship. At the time of the incident the U.S. and South Korea were having one of their annual provocative war games where they practice an invasion of North Korea. One has to remember that the U.S. has a modus operandi when it comes to using sunk boats to justify war - "Remember the Maine" that was the prelude to the Spanish-American War and the more contemporary Gulf of Tonkin Resolution that was the kick-off to the Vietnam War. Some are already speculating that the South Korean sinking was timed before their June 2 elections and/or timed to ensure that Japan's new government reneges on its promise to close a U.S. military base in Okinawa. I'm sure there are other good theories on this as well."


****** Japan's international affairs analyst Tanaka Sakai suspects a U.S. vessel involved. Tanaka's article has been translated and posted on Japan Focus:Asia-Pacific Journal.

Who Sank the South Korean Warship Cheonan? A New Stage in the US-Korean War and US-China Relations

****** Historian Bruce Cumings urges us to look at this incident in a larger context in Democracy Now!

Historian Bruce Cumings: US Stance on Korea Ignores Tensions Rooted in 65-Year-Old Conflict; North Korea Sinking Could Be Response to November ’09 South Korea Attack
http://www.democracynow.org/2010/5/27/nk

****** In CNN, University of Georgia Professor Han Park argues hardliner reactions are counterproductive calls for re-investigation and talks.

Tensions Between Koreas
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2010/05/24/intv.korea.torpedo.sanctions.cnn

****** Selig Harrison in Hankyoreh, Korea's national daily newspaper.

What Seoul should do despite the Cheonan
http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_opinion/420827.html

****** A Russian perspective on the issue. This article, in "38 North," specializing in DPRK analysis (hosted by SAIS, Johns Hopkins University), presents a sensible list of questions to be answered before we reach any conclusion.

"...The Russian position thus far has been to “wait and see,” most likely intending to follow China’s lead. If this issue is brought before the UN Security Council, Russia will probably demand ironclad proof of North Korean culpability and will likely abstain at best if this proof is not provided. "

To read the whole article,

Peace or War? Do we have to choose? A Russian Perspective by Georgy Toloraya
http://38north.org/2010/05/peace-or-war-do-we-have-to-choose-a-russian-perspective/

******Here are Scott Creighton's "5-point flaws" of the report of the "international investigation team."
http://willyloman.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/pcc-772-cheonan-an-unacceptable-provocation-by-the-united-states-of-america-and-the-international-community-has-a-duty-to-respond/

Peace Philosopher

Below is the Korean civil society's statement, issued on May 26, 2010.
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Statement on the Current State of Affairs for Peace on the Korean Peninsula


We, Korean civil society, gather here today to resolve the crisis and conflicts caused by the Cheonan warship incident and to take a major step forward toward our goals of democracy, co-existence, and peace.

Since the South Korean Cheonan navy warship rather mysteriously sank on Mach 26th, our society has grieved the tragic incident together, tried to clarify the cause, and endeavored to provide comprehensive countermeasures in order to prevent its recurrence.

However, a handful of governmental and military officials have tightly controlled the relevant information under the guise of “national security” and “military secrets,” thereby obstructing these voluntary acts of concerned citizens who seek to find out the truth about the warship incident. Despite the fact that the Lee Myung-bak administration kept warning about coming to a premature conclusion, the Administration released reports that contained a number of unexplained hypotheses, and raised many questions before the necessary investigations were completed. The investigation was conducted by the self-interested military, which whitewashed its role and should have been reprimanded.

In addition, without allowing enough time for the public and the National Assembly to review the investigation, the Lee administration precipitously and unilaterally announced dangerous military, economic and diplomatic countermeasures against North Korea without reaching a national consensus. These are the types of measures that make ineffective the “peaceful crisis-management system,” which has been gradually established since the “July 7 Declaration” by the Roh Tae-woo administration.

Do you think that such impetuous and dogmatic measures by the Lee administration are helping to resolve the situation? Instead, those actions are shaking the very foundation of the peace and prosperity processes, which would secure the future of the Korean Peninsula. Amid the international economic crisis, our economy was, arguably, slowly recovering but now it is faltering again. Efforts like the Six-Party-Talks and the denuclearization of North Korea are patently missing in the Lee administration’s enforcements of military and economic countermeasures against North Korea.

People!

Did you witness such military tension when peace and engagement policies were consistently pursued in the past? Now we are at crossroads and need to decide whether to go back to the adventurism of the Cold War era, where the national security issue was abused for power politics and blinded people to the truth. Compare this reckless approach to a future-oriented peaceful realism, which emphasizes the democratic process, checks and balances on the abuses of administrative and military power, and seeks ways for peace and co-existence rather than provocative slogans.

In this regard, we shall express our opinions.

First, both North and South Korea should immediately stop the military confrontation, which will bring the Korean Peninsula to a war and economic crisis. The South should withdraw its series of dangerous military measures and economic sanctions against North Korea, which were promulgated and enforced without any public debate, National Assembly discussions, or diplomacy with concerned countries. In addition, the North also should refrain from provocative rhetoric and radical military actions but instead cooperate with a rational process of uncovering the truth about the warship case.

Second, we call on the South Korean government to take additional measures to clarify the facts of the case, which should be able to answer a number of remaining questions regarding the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

Third, both the South Korean government and the media should not manipulate this case to further their vested interests in the upcoming election, which is directly connected to the welfare of the Korean people. The government and the majority party should explain why it was necessary to prematurely release the results of the investigation, as well as to also announce reckless military countermeasures. In addition, we urge the government to immediately stop abusing its immense political and legal powers in order to pressure the voters who only raise rational questions about the government’s report and actions.

We appeal to you!

The crisis on the Korean Peninsula took place without our intentions, but we should be responsible to clarify the real cause and seek ways to resolve this problem in an appropriate way. It is directly related to our future democracy and peace. It is time to call upon your wisdom and courage to achieve peace.

At 3pm, on May 29, let us show our will to uncover the truth and accomplish real peace on the Korean Peninsula. Starting today, each night, let’s begin to light up candles for peace on the Peninsula.

On June 2, Election Day, we will judge the current situation of the country and this period with a sense of civic duty and open up the future path toward democracy, co-existence, and peace for ourselves.

May 26, 2010

91 Civil Society Groups, 5 Opposition Parties, 104 Individuals


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The following message is from the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea:

COMMENTS ON THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE JOINT CIVILIAN-MILITARY INVESTIGATION GROUP'S CONCLUSION

"Nothing is covered up that will not become known" Luke 12:2

We, PROK, who have been praying for democracy, peace, and life of Korean society, raise some points responding to the JIG's announcement of the conclusion of its investigation that says South Korean Navy ship Cheonan sank by a North Korean submarine attack with a heavy torpedo.

First of all, we point out that JIG's investigation cannot be fair and objective from the beginning. The Ministry of National Defense and the military, which are the most responsible for the incident took control over the whole investigation. They also made a hasty announcement to meet the first day of the campaign for the coming election on June 2, which left suspicions about the background. If there is any intention to take advantage of 46 young sailors' deaths for any political purpose, it will kill them again.

JIG's announcement did not explain anything but left so many questions among Korean people. Now we are asking the following questions.

1. We cannot understand why the crucial moment of sinking is missing from the footage (TOD). The JIG must also release the records of radio messages exchanged and Cheonan's CCTV recordings.

2. If Cheonan had sunk due to a shockwave and bubble effect by an underwater torpedo explosion, there must be any eyewitness of the giant water pillar. Moreover, most survivors are not suffering from torn eardrums, intestinal damages, fractures, or lacerations which are the general symptoms of torpedo explosion.

3. There were 13 Korean and US up-to-date ships at the West Sea near the scene. They were conducting a joint military drill at that time. Among those 13 ships are Cheonan, a warship to detect and fight with the submarines, torpedoes, airplanes, and missiles, and another warship Aegis specialized in dealing with submarines. Why couldn't any of the super modern ships detect the attack of the North Korean submarines or torpedo?

4. Why was late petty officer Han Joo-ho searching the third location, not the bow or the stern where the sailors were? Why did the American ambassador and the commander of American Army in Korea attend the memorial service for him to express condolences and pay comport money to his family? The JIG must give a clear explanation to the wide spread suspicions of probable clash between the US and Korean ships or mistaken firing between the two.

5. Why have the survivors been strictly separated and controlled since the tragedy happened? Why are they not allowed to say anything about it, though they know the truth best?

According to JIG's announcement, a North Korean submarine attacked Cheonan with a heavy torpedo and escaped without being detected at all. It means President Lee who is in charge of national security should take full responsibility for what happened and apologize to Korean people. The minister of defense, the joint chief of staff, and the naval chief of staff should do the same thing.

JIG's announcement did not answer any of the questions but left more suspicions. Now is the time for the Korean leaders to stop shifting responsibilities but taking them. They have to organize a new investigation group including civilian experts and opposition parties to find the whole truth answering all the questions above.

Once again we express our deepest condolences to the families of the late sailors as we promise to do our best to reveal the truth and take the follow-up measures.

May 20, 2010

Rev. Kwon Young-Joung
Peace and Reunification Committee

Rev. Jeon Byung-Saeng
Church and Society Committee

The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

thank you!

I only have one question:

South Korea has nothing to gain in case of a war, so why are they executing maneuvers with the U.S., demonstrating that they would be "ready for war", while they should do everything to avoid further increase of the tensions?

JJ said...

The current Korean regime was to lose an importan election. They needed a spectacular event which would make people seek stability rather than change. They scheduled the sharing of the result of the investigation for the sunk corvette in the way watering down people's interest in the election. The group most benefiting from the accident is the current regime actually.

Anonymous said...

That would make sense. Here they quote some South Korean people about their opinon and although those people are all very upset they don't seem to favour sanctions against the north. So, I guess that the whole situation will be solved without the need of any military actions.