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Asahi: FM Yu Told Japan `NK Sank Cheonan`

Posted May. 18, 2010 04:42,   


South Korean Foreign Minister Yu Myung-hwan told Japan that a North Korean torpedo sank the South’s naval vessel Cheonan, a major Japanese daily said Monday.

The Asahi Shimbun quoted Yu as telling Japanese Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada, “We have strong circumstantial evidence that (the sinking) was caused by a North Korean torpedo.” Yu was briefing Okada on the probe into the sinking at a meeting of foreign ministers from South Korea, China and Japan Sunday in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province.

Yu also urged Okada to agree that the sinking was caused by a North Korean attack, for Tokyo to reinforce sanctions on the North, and urge bilateral efforts in cooperation at the U.N. Security Council.

In response, Okada said, “Japan supports South Korea and will spare no efforts in cooperation as required,” adding Tokyo is already imposing thorough sanctions on Pyongyang.

Asahi said that since Washington is also moving to conclude that the sinking was caused by the North, a dispute could erupt between South Korea, the U.S. and Japan and China, which is reluctant to get tough on North Korea.

A diplomatic source in Seoul said Yu mentioned the sinking under the assumption of “if the North was involved” in a trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting Saturday ahead of the Seoul-Tokyo foreign ministers’ talks.

China, however, maintained its earlier stance of not commenting on a hypothetical situation. Japan said it will wait for the results of the probe into the sinking.

jkmas@donga.com spear@donga.com