North Korea seeks end to confrontation over warship sinking

Pyongyang, March 26: North Korea Wednesday called for “a definite end to the vicious cycle of confrontation” with South Korea, four years after the occurrence of South Korea’s Cheonan warship sinking case.

An inspection team of North Korea’s National Defence Commission (NDC) Wednesday released a memorandum urging Seoul to “unconditionally accept” the NDC inspection team to probe the truth about the warship sinking case and make it public, Xinhua reported citing the North Korea’s official news agency KCNA.

South Korean warship Cheonan was sunk March 26, 2010, and “broken into two parts in the West Sea (Yellow Sea) of Korea for no specific reason”, said the NDC memorandum, claiming what the South Korean investigation concluded the warship was sunk by a torpedo fired by North Korea.

Recalling that the case has been misused for escalating the confrontation between the north and the south, the memorandum stressed that North Korea has consistently made every sincere effort to probe the truth about the case and improve inter-Korean relations.

“We are ready to send the existing investigation team of the NDC to South Korea even now and have the will to produce all evidence proving the case and clearly probe the truth about it in the eyes of the world,” it said.

But if South Korean authorities were still not in a position to accept the NDC inspection team, they should give formal assurances that they would not spread the “the North’s involvement” any more if they truly want to improve north-south relations, the memorandum added.

On Monday, South Korea’s unification ministry said that it would not lift the May 24, 2010, sanctions against North Korea until Pyongyang took responsible action for the sinking of the South Korean warship four years ago.

Unification ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do told a routine press briefing that the government “is not considering at all” whether to lift the May 24 sanctions, noting that North Korea has not taken any responsible action for the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

South Korea had imposed the sanctions banning all inter-Korean economic and personnel exchanges with the exception of the joint factory park in the two countries’ border town of Kaesong.