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ROK Army considers moving Cheonan warship to Seoul

Posted September. 22, 2022 08:06,   

Updated September. 22, 2022 08:06


It is reported that the Republic of Korea army is considering moving the Cheonan warship (PCC-772) to Seoul. The warship sank in 2010 and is currently displayed in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province. Earlier, the bereaved families of the sunken Navy ship proposed to President Yoon Suk-yeol that the Cheonan be moved to Seoul to raise the sense of alertness for national security. The army is considering conducting a feasibility study, including the cost of relocating the ship.

According to a government official familiar with the matter, the ROK Navy will commission research into the relocation of the Cheonan, which will include an objective analysis of the separation of the body of the vessel, the cost of relocation, and an appropriate place to relocate the ship. The feasibility study is intended to secure procedural legitimacy, regardless of whether the study's outcome may be either moving or not. Based on the feasibility study results, the Navy will decide on relocating the Cheonan warship.

The Cheonan warship was torpedoed by the North Korean attack in 2010 and ripped into two pieces. The ship's remnants were first stored in drydock at the 2nd Fleet navy headquarters in Pyeongtaek and later moved to the Unification Security Park. The memorial stone of 46 fallen sailors and the commemorative exhibition hall are all nearby.

Ms. Yoon Cheong-ja, the mother of Min Pyeong-gi, the late senior chief petty officer, requested President Yoon back in June, at a memorial luncheon held at the presidential office in Yongsan, Seoul, that the warship be moved to near the Han River in Seoul to raise public awareness of the sinking of the ship. Pyeongtaek is relatively less accessible than nearby the Han River, where more population is coming and going. President Yoon was reported to pay attention to the proposal made by Ms. Yoon.

Yet, some bereaved families and survivors of the sunken warship oppose the idea, making it hard for the army to proceed with the plan. “The bereaved families and the surviving sailors have not discussed the relocation of the ship,” said Mr. Lee Seong-woo, father of Lee Sang-hee, the late 1st class petty officer, and the representative of the bereaved families. “If the ship were to be relocated, both the main body of the ship and the commemorative exhibition hall and memorial stone would have to be relocated as well. However, it would be a tough task.”

Kyu-Jin Shin newjin@donga.com