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Analysts Question Korea Torpedo Incident (1)

29 May 2010
 

分析家们质疑南朝鲜鱼雷事件

The following are the excerpts of the article posted on spytalk' blog at washingtonpost.com and the Chinese translation:

How is it that a submarine of a fifth-rate power was able to penetrate a U.S.-South Korean naval exercise and sink a ship that was designed for anti-submarine warfare?

一艘小型电力驱动潜艇居然能悄无声息地潜入正在举行美-韩海战军演的阵地并打沉南朝鲜专用于反潜的军舰,这也算是奇闻了。

Such questions are being fuelled by suggestions in the South Korean and Japanese media that the naval exercise was intended to provoke the North to attack. The resulting public outcry in the South, according to this analysis, would bolster support for a conservative government in Seoul that is opposed to reconciliation efforts.

对这一调查结论的质疑并非空穴来风。南朝鲜和日本的媒体都有报道,称美韩军演的初衷就是要引诱北朝鲜来袭击。一旦北朝鲜上钩了,南朝鲜一定舆论鼎沸,群起支持一贯推行反南北和解政策的保守党政府。

As fanciful as it may sound to Western ears, the case that Operation Foal Eagle was designed to provoke the North has been underscored by constant references in regional media to charts showing the location where the ship was sunk -- in waters close to, and claimed by, North Korea.

这听起来或许有点匪夷所思,说美韩军演就是专门为了向北朝鲜挑战而举行的。但如果你注意一下日韩媒体不断引用的海域图,你大概就不会觉得这完全不可能了。天安号沉没的地点异乎寻常地靠近北朝鲜海域。

"Baengnyeong Island is only 20 kilometres from North Korea in an area that the North claims as its maritime territory, except for the South Korean territorial sea around the island,” Japanese journalist Tanaka Sakai wrote in the left-leaning Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.

He called the sinking of the ship “an enigma.”

"The Cheonan was a patrol boat whose mission was to survey with radar and sonar the enemy’s submarines, torpedoes, and aircraft ... " Sakai wrote.

"If North Korean submarines and torpedoes were approaching, the Cheonan should have been able to sense it quickly and take measures to counterattack or evade. Moreover, on the day the Cheonan sank, US and ROK military exercises were under way, so it could be anticipated that North Korean submarines would move south to conduct surveillance. It is hard to imagine that the Cheonan sonar forces were not on alert."

日本记者榻捺卡洒在左翼《亚太月刊:日本视点》上撰文指出“笨庸岛离北朝鲜认定的他们一侧的海域只2公里的距离。”他因而认为此次沉船事件是非常蹊跷的。

“天安号本是巡洋舰,它的任务就是用雷达和声纳搜寻敌人的潜艇、鱼雷、飞机等等。当北朝鲜潜艇和鱼雷靠近时,天安号绝对应该具备感知并及时反击的能力,更何况反潜战舰沉没的那天美韩海上军演正闹得如火如荼,他们不可能没有考虑到北朝鲜会跑来悄悄地监视他们的举动。在这样的情况下,说天安号没有启用雷达探测装置,你信吗?”

The liberal Hankyoreh newspaper in Seoul echoed a similar theme.

“A joint South Korean-U.S. naval exercise involving several Aegis warships was underway at the time, and the Cheonan was a patrol combat corvette (PCC) that specialized in anti-submarine warfare. The question remains whether it would be possible for a North Korean submarine to infiltrate the maritime cordon at a time when security reached its tightest level and without detection by the Cheonan,” it reported.

南朝鲜首都汉城的汉扣人报也发表了类似的看法:“那次的韩-美联合军演启动了数艘护航舰,加上天安号本身就是一艘专用来对付敌方潜艇的巡洋作战护卫舰。而北朝鲜潜艇却能在韩国海防戒备最森严的时候瞒过天安号的探测穿过层层封锁线,这可能吗?”

American spy satellites were also monitoring the exercise, “so the U.S. would have known that North Korean submarines had left their ports on a mission,” adds Scott Snyder, director of Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation.

亚洲基金会美韩中心主任思考特·心得也指出:美国的间谍卫星当时也在监控美韩海上军演,“故此美国没理由不知道北朝鲜的潜艇离开了它所在的军港。”

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