Solid evidence is the keyBreaking a long silence, North Korea finally opened its mouth and spoke - 22 days after the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan in the Yellow Sea. As expected, the North said it had nothing to do with the incident and said the suspicion that the North is involved in the tragedy is just a plot against the country’s regime.
An unidentified military commentator from the North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency, said, “The belligerent groups and right-wing forces in South Korea are plotting to link the incident to us because they cannot figure out the cause of the sinking. Now we cannot rule out the possibility of conflict and confrontation over the cause.”
However, with the stern of the warship having been salvaged, the argument that the North was involved is gaining ground. The joint military-civilian investigation team made its first official announcement: “After a visual inspection of the severed section of the ship and the interior and exterior of the hull, we concluded that an external explosion is highly likely to be the cause, rather than an internal explosion.”
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said, “The government and the military see this incident as a grave situation of national security.”
Regarding the resumption of the six-party talks, Kurt Campbell, U.S. assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said that the important thing is to “find out what happened.” His remark indicates that the U.S. government’s new position is to not exclude the possibility of the North’s involvement.
Under the circumstances, North Korea seems to have tried to pre-empt any potential damage that might befall the communist country if they were to remain silent about the incident.
Of course, it is not certain whether North Korea was involved and we have only circumstantial evidence implicating them. For example, if the ship sank due to an external shock, it is realistic to guess that it came from North Korea.
Even if the North attacked the ship, we are doubtful that they would admit it. Following the deadly explosion in Myanmar in 1983 and the explosion of Korean Air Flight 858 two years later, North Korea said, through the state media, that they had nothing to do with the tragedies. That is why it is difficult for us to accept their argument that they were not involved in this incident, either.
In the end, it all amounts to physical evidence. If the North is behind the incident, we must collect solid evidence to prove their involvement. A thorough investigation that the international community can trust and the presentation of irrefutable evidence are the keys to finding the truth and making those responsible accountable for their actions.