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Military Pressured to Release Contacts With Sunken Ship

Posted April. 02, 2010 17:23,   


The military is under pressure to disclose recordings of communication between the sunken naval patrol ship Cheonan and the 2nd Naval Fleet.

The Defense Ministry yesterday made public the entire video footage taken of the ship’s sinking amid public outrage over the ministry`s release of a small part of the video only.

The military cited national security or military secrets as the reasons for its inability to make full disclosure of the video.

A leading ministry policymaker told reporters Wednesday that the rescue was like a military operation, saying all relevant materials cannot be disclosed “the way a sports game is relayed on air.”

The controversy pits the military’s right to hold information confidential against the people’s right to know.

“The recorded communications include content showing the Navy’s operational system,” a military official said. “If unveiled, such information will hurt national security because it will help North Korea’s military operations.”

Others say, however, that the public’s right to know should take precedence given that the Cheonan disaster incurred loss of life.

“The sinking of the Cheonan involved the lives of 46 missing crewmen and requires accurate determination of the cause,” said Ha Chang-woo, former head of the Seoul Bar Association. “No questions must be left unanswered through full disclosure of information.”

Noting that the military released its communication log after the second inter-Korean naval clash in 2002, attorneys urged the military to make a full disclosure of its communication information at least to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

Park Sun-young, a lawmaker of the minor conservative Liberty Forward Party, also urged the military to release as much information as possible, warning passivity in information disclosure could result in public distrust.

Park said the latest incident happened at a place distant from the Northern Limit Line in peacetime.