Warship sinking case: Russia backs N Korea

Russia demands that other member countries of the upcoming G-8 remove the words blaming N Korea for sinking of a S Korean warship from the draft.

Tokyo: Russia has demanded that other
member countries of the upcoming G-8 summit remove the words
blaming North Korea for the sinking of a South Korean warship
from a draft of the meeting`s statement, a Japanese government
source has said.

Russia is basing its request on its own investigation
into the March 26 sinking of the Cheonan in the Yellow Sea in
which 46 sailors died, saying it has yet to reach an official
conclusion, according to the source.

The issue may become a major point of contention at the
summit starting in Canada from Friday as Japan and the United
States, which have supported South Korea since it announced
last month that a multinational probe had found that a North
Korean torpedo was responsible for the incident.

Canada, which chairs the G-8 summit, presented
participating countries in mid-June with a draft of a joint
statement on security issues in which North Korea was blamed
for causing the deadly sinking, the source said.

While Japan and the United States approved the draft,
Russia called for eliminating the wording, saying there is no
clear evidence that the incident was caused by the North.

The result of Russia`s own investigation, begun at the
end of May, is expected after the G-8 summit.

A senior official of the Japanese Foreign Ministry said,
"Russia appears to be focusing on the UN Security Council,
which has a greater say than the summit meeting."

Japan and the United States declared their support for
South Korea soon after the multinational team of
investigators, which included the South Korean military and
private-sector experts, announced May 20 that the deadly
sinking was caused by a North Korean torpedo, and the two
countries have been planning to take up the issue at the G-8