Posted July. 04, 2002 22:29,
The Defense Ministry said on the 4th that the reason South Korean patrol boats did not chase the retreating North Korean vessels is that there was a missile threat pose by North Korea.
"When two South Korean patrol boats were approaching the battle scene, North Korea activated the radar system of the `Styx` missiles deployed in the Sagot naval base," said Hwang Eui-don, spokesman of the Defense Ministry, "South Korean patrol boats did not pursue and destroy North Korean warships because we worried that the battle could escalate into large-scale warfare."
He added, "The South Korean Navy exercised restraint because there were additional threats by Silkworm ground-to-ship missiles with a range of 95 km deployed along the shore of Hwanghae province, seashore-based guns and the North Korean air force, which was available in 8 to 9 minutes."
Meanwhile the fact-finding committee of the Grand National Party visited the Second Fleet Command in the Navy for a field investigation and said, "The Command said that having judged it could forestall over North Korean patrol boats, the Command did not direct nearby jet planes to attack North Korean warships."
"The command`s remarks runs counter to the explanation of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) that the military did not deploy jet fighters in order to prevent the skirmish from escalating into a bigger war," said Rep. Park Se-hwan, a member of the GNP fact-finding committee, "We confirmed that there was not a single South Korean fishing boat that violated a line below the Northern Limit Line banning their access after examining the situation of the battle scene through the screen of the Korea Naval Tactical Data System (KNTDS)."
Kang Chang-hee, chairman of the committee said, "The Second Fleet Command had not received an additional report other than the first report of `five wounded` until a cease-fire order was issued. The chief of the Command said that he would have pursued the North Korean vessels to the end if he had known the extent of damage."