S Korean warship sinking: UN orders probe; India calls for peace

The UNC would inquire into S Korean claims that North torpedoed its ship.

Seoul: The US-led United Nations Command (UNC) said on Friday it would launch an inquiry into claims by South Korea that North Korea torpedoed one of its warships.

A multinational investigation led by South Korea concluded on Thursday there was overwhelming evidence that a North Korean torpedo split the 1,200-tonne corvette in two on March 26, killing 46 sailors.

"The UNC is convening a special investigations team...to review the findings of the investigation and determine the scope of armistice violation that occurred in the sinking,” the UNC said in a statement.

The UNC has been in the South since the UN sent an international force to defend it after the Korean War broke out in 1950. The conflict ended in 1953 with an armistice but not a peace treaty.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak today described the torpedo attack as a breach of the armistice.

The team will include members from the UNC and the Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission, an armistice watchdog.

The UNC members include representatives from Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey, Britain and the United States. The Neutral Nations Supervisory Commission consists of members from Sweden and Switzerland.

"The team will report their findings to the United Nations," the UNC statement said.

India appreciates S Korea`s `restraint` on ship sinking issue

India on Friday condemned the sinking
of a South Korean ship `Cheonan` and appreciated the maturity
and restraint demonstrated by that country in handling the
issue to maintain peace and stability in the region.

"The Government of the Republic of Korea has shared
with us the report of the Joint Civilian-Military
Investigation Group established to inquire into the causes of
the sinking of Frigate `Cheonan` on 26 March 2010," an
External Affairs Ministry statement said here.

"We condemn the incident and condole with the Republic
of Korea on the tragic loss of life. India appreciates the
maturity and restraint with which the Republic of Korea has
been handling the issue with a view to maintaining peace and
stability in the region," it said.

According to reports, the investigations carried out
by Joint Civilian-Military Investigation Group and released
yesterday concluded that the warship had been sunk by a North
Korean torpedo.

The South Korean navy ship was sunk near the North
Korea border on March 26 with 104 people onboard. While 58
people were rescued, 46 crew were killed in the mishap.