Governments react with caution over ship’s sinking

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Governments react with caution over ship’s sinking

Following the sinking of a South Korean patrol ship and growing speculation about a possible North Korean connection, governments of the United States, China and Japan responded with caution, while Taiwan was on alert over the incident.

Asked if Washington had any information about North Korea involvement State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said, “Let’s not jump to conclusions here. I’m not aware of any evidence to that effect, but I think the authoritative source here would be the South Korean government.”

China also remained cautious, while the country’s media quickly followed the incident in detail. While no official statement was issued by Beijing, Chinese expert Liang Yongchun, a military correspondent for China National Radio, said Saturday that the incident should not affect the inter-Korean relations nor the situation in Northeast Asia.

On being informed about the incident, President Ma Ying-jeou, on a state visit to Palau, called an emergency meeting of security officials on Friday night and ordered the activation of Taiwan’s national security mechanism, the Taipei Times reported.

Japan was also closely following the incident. According to the Blue House, Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama sent a message of consolation to President Lee Myung-bak. “I understand that [you] are leading the rescue operation and an investigation to determined the cause of the tragedy,” Hatoyama was quoted as saying by Blue House spokesman Park Sun-kyoo.

“If the ship had sank by a mere accident, that will be an unheard of case,” said Sumihiko Kawamura, deputy director of the Okazaki Institute and a retired admiral.

By Ser Myo-ja []
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