The following are the excerpts of the article
posted on spytalk' blog at washingtonpost.com and the Chinese
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?
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.
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.
"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
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.
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
Korea's New Discovery (2)
Korea Claim Questioned (2)