Seoul: South Korea has not ruled out blaming a torpedo strike for sinking one of its Navy ships in waters near a contested sea border with North Korea, Defence Minister Kim Tae-young said on Friday.
Initial speculation that North Korea might have sunk the 1,200 ton corvette Cheonan spooked Wall Street last Friday. Share prices dipped partly on geopolitical concerns of escalating conflict between the rival Koreas, and the won dropped against the dollar.
"We believe there is a likely possibility for the sinking to have been because of a torpedo, but we should look at all possibilities," Kim told a parliamentary committee.
Kim did not say if South Korea thought the torpedo may have been friendly fire or from North Korea, which is still technically at war with the South and has repeatedly threatened to attack ships in the area.
Shortly after the incident, South Korean officials all but ruled out blaming the North.
Kim has previously said the ship may have struck one of the several thousand mines deployed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
The two Koreas have fought two deadly naval battles in the past decade in the disputed Yellow Sea waters off the west coast.