North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

NK Denies Involvement in Sinking Cheonan (revised 18 April)

Military Commentator Denies Involvement in Ship Sinking  (KCNA17 April  2010)

The DPRK has broken its three-week silence and officially denied sinking the ROK naval corvette.  Speculation and suspicion has swarmed the DPRK since the Cheonan sunk on 26 March,  focusing on a DPRK mine or torpedo.  A report earlier this week implicated a bureau subordinate to the National Defense Commission’s Policy Department.

The statement said the North considers the event a tragedy as it claimed the lives of many Koreans.

“Though the sunken large ship belongs to the South side, we have so far regarded the accident as a regretful accident that should not happen in the light of the fact that many missing persons and most of rescued members of the crew are fellow countrymen forced to live a tiresome life in the puppet army,” it said.

It also said the South Korean administration was trying to lay the blame on North Korea in an attempt to divert the attention of the public from its own mistakes ahead of the June 2 local elections in South Korea.

“It is prompted by its ulterior intention to get rid of the worst ruling crisis caused by the ‘state management failure,’ the statement said.

“Another sinister aim sought by the puppet regime in floating the above-said story is to justify the persistent and anachronistic policy towards the DPRK and shirk the blame for having driven the inter-Korean relations to the worst crisis,” it added.

Choson Ilbo citing Open Radio for North Korea reports:

Quoting North Korean sources, the defector radio station said the regime in a recent lecture given to party officials said, “A warship of the puppet South Korean Navy, engaged in an aggressive war exercise along with the United States, was buried in the West Sea.” It said this was a “self-inflicted drama” by “hostile forces” bent on proving “the righteousness of their hostile policy” toward North Korea.

Photo: Yonhap

An affiliate of 38 North