S Korea asks US to help in finding cause of naval ship sinking
South Korea today asked the United States to help determine the cause of sinking of a Navy corvette near the western sea border with North Korea in late March, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said.world Updated: Apr 08, 2010 11:38 IST
South Korea on Thursday asked the United States to help determine the cause of sinking of a Navy corvette near the western sea border with North Korea in late March, a South Korean Defense Ministry spokesman said.
"At a meeting with the US side, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Lee Sang Eui asked for a team of experts on naval incidents to analyze what caused the sinking of the ship," Won Tae Jae said.
In response, Gen Walter Sharp, US commander-in-chief in South Korea, promised to provide top experts to find out what caused the March 26 sinking of the 1,200 ton corvette Cheonan with 104 aboard.
So far, 58 crew members have been rescued, one of 46 other sailors has been confirmed dead and the remaining 45 are unaccounted for.
The navy is preparing to salvage the sunken ship, which ripped in two following an explosion, after halting underwater search operations on Saturday night at the request of family members of the missing sailors.
In addition to the death of a navy diver in the search operation, a South Korean fishing boat carrying nine sailors was apparently hit by a Cambodian registered freighter and sank on Friday night after helping in the search.
South Korean officials have said, a thorough investigation will be conducted into what happened to the ship, including examining any signs of possible involvement by North Korea.