BBC BLOGS - Have Your Say
« Previous | Main | Next »

What next for North and South Korea?

09:30 UK time, Thursday, 20 May 2010

A North Korean submarine's torpedo sank a South Korean navy ship on 26 March causing the deaths of 46 sailors, an international report has found. How should the international community respond?

Investigators said they had discovered part of the torpedo on the sea floor and it carried lettering that matched a North Korean design.

Pyongyang rejected the claim as a "fabrication", according to reports from South Korea's Yonhap agency.

Are you in South Korea? How will this affect the relationship between the two Koreas? How should the international community respond?

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Instead of letting China get in the way, South Korea should have retaliated immediately when their boat was fired upon.

    They bottled it and at the time claimed to only 'suspect' they were hit. They knew they'd been hit by the North. Everyone knew it.

    If they would have acknowledged it straight away, they would have been under pressure by their public to retaliate quickly - and rightly so.

    It really is time we put an end to the axis of evil. Iran, Syria and North Korea are all partners in crime. Nuclear bomb makers and international terrorists.

    The axis will have to be annihilated.

  • Comment number 2.

    1. At 10:21am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:

    Instead of letting China get in the way, South Korea should have retaliated immediately when their boat was fired upon.

    They bottled it and at the time claimed to only 'suspect' they were hit. They knew they'd been hit by the North. Everyone knew it.

    If they would have acknowledged it straight away, they would have been under pressure by their public to retaliate quickly - and rightly so.

    It really is time we put an end to the axis of evil. Iran, Syria and North Korea are all partners in crime. Nuclear bomb makers and international terrorists.

    The axis will have to be annihilated.

    ----------------------------------------

    Thats the US way, go in guns blazing before it is proven who did it or even if the target is right. It is better to wait and ensure you are right.

    So you want the so called axes of evil to be annihilated? Are you going to join in or are you prepared to sit in your comfy chair whilst others die?

  • Comment number 3.

    And what kind of behaviour have you expected from a Communist regime propped by Beijing and Moscow?

    A civilized one? :-)))

  • Comment number 4.

    Re #1 "It really is time we put an end to the axis of evil. Iran, Syria and North Korea are all partners in crime. Nuclear bomb makers and international terrorists.

    The axis will have to be annihilated."


    AND IT SHALL BE.

  • Comment number 5.

    If North Korea does not acknowledge the fact that by its torpedo the South Korean ship was sunk, as it is proven by certain evidences, this is nothing but a sign of unfriendliness toward South Korea. It reminds me of the cold war when the whole world was affected by mutual hostility and hatred between socialism and capitalism. I believe that sooner or later the two Koreans will become unined into a single state. But the North Korean authorities does not want it because in this case they would have to face a trial for the suppression of democracy in their country. After the ship was sunk, they pretend that nothing happened with it and they are not guilty. The international community should be vigilant about everything going on between the two countries (and especially about the suspected North Korean nuclear program). I am doubtful that they can be very friendly toward each other, there is two much difference in ideology between them. The authoritarian North Korean regime, built on hatred toward the West, systematically violates human rights, and for it human lives cost little or nothing. Therefore, it poses a threat to humankind.

  • Comment number 6.

    If you take a step back from the political situation this cannot be seen as anything other than an act of war. The question that needs to be asked now is why did North Korea attack? A war would not be in their interests and South Korean restraint has been very commendable.

  • Comment number 7.

    South Korea will continue to prosper and North Korea will continue to make idle threats until all of their soldiers have died of starvation.

  • Comment number 8.

    1. At 10:21am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:
    Instead of letting China get in the way, South Korea should have retaliated immediately when their boat was fired upon.

    -----

    You know nothing - North Korea has an absolute arsenal of heavy artillary pointed at and within range of the South Korean Capital, Seoul.

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth.

    The real options are limited, basically the South and the US could restart a full scale conflict against a nuclear armed North but North Korea isn't Iraq, its not even afghanistan, they've got a huge army with relatively sophisticated equipment and could devastate large parts of the South in as matter days.

    The other option is for the US to cut the huge levels of food & medical aid which they send to North Korea through third parties, though the burden of such sanctions would inevitably fall on the urban poor rather than the ruling Party.

    So as usual I suspect the only real alternative will be for China to give them a stern talking to, although how effective that method has ever been in affecting North Korean policy is debatable.

  • Comment number 9.

    What a bunch of losers the North Korean leaders are.The only way they can continue to keep their own people in check is to try and instigate a war with the South.The Chinese are being used and they dont appear to know what to do.I cant believe the Chinese people would support a war which would put sanctions on the country and stop dead in its tracks any continued prosperity.China needs the world trade-but the west doesnt really need China,especially in a recession!

  • Comment number 10.

    There has to be a different approach to DPRK and ROK, this part of the world has been sitting on an edge for decades. Certainly reforming of the DPRK infrastructure has been patchy, but its friend / ally PRC has to give some real sustainable investment, to correct shortages and availability on food / safe energy etc. There is huge untapped potential market for all which can cut both ways.
    Now those that rattle sabres, please learn from history! To overcome the DPRK will enevitably incurr the use of tactical nuclear weapons, it will be the only option to overcome primed 1 million armed and fully trained military and this is only the army element (Possibly old data?) The civillian element of innocents caught up in conflict will be shocking, quite simply the arsenel pointing from ROK to DPRK is huge!

    If indeed the DPRK were involved in this incident, I certainly doubt it was a trigger happy renegade. Each commander will have a chain of command to follow, political or otherwise! Certainly there is a great deal of mistrust between DPRK / ROK and the rest of the world, so to did the same exist with PRC and USSR. Understanding the full history of this region answers in part why DPRK has come to mis-trust all things of a non-indginous origin.........

  • Comment number 11.

    North Korea has a nuke and it is itching for an excuse to use it.

    It is as simple as that.

  • Comment number 12.

    Tony wrote:

    Thats the US way, go in guns blazing before it is proven who did it or even if the target is right. It is better to wait and ensure you are right.


    =======


    I don't think you left wingers understand the concept of self-defence and the right to protect yourself with deadly force.

    Now what? weeks after the event S. Korea makes it public what we already knew. Of course now they can't act militarily, so all they can do is get the most inefficient, corrupt talking shop (the UN) to send a "strongly worded letter" to N. Korea.

    And another terrorist attack by a member of the axis of evil goes unanswered. Just like all of Iran's actions and that of Syria.

    I know the lunacy that is inherent in the left wing, but even I'm surprised that Chamberlainism is touted as the best policy by the loony left.

    Only the loony left would fail to learn lessons from a world war.

  • Comment number 13.

    Kim Jong Il of North Korea is a weird war-monger. He is destructive and wanton in his approach to other nations particularly its democratic neighbour South Korea. He enjoys great support from his comrades in China and Russia and the peculiar Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Kim denies attacking South Korea's naval ship in March this year that led to the death of 45 sailors. Detailed investigations and findings by South Korea point to Pyongyang beyond doubt. South Korea should have retaliated pronto by attacking North Korea as it enjoys great support from US and all democratic regimes the world over. United Nations has a role to play in this massacre of sailors.

  • Comment number 14.

    9. At 11:22am on 20 May 2010, DIDYOUKNOW wrote:
    What a bunch of losers the North Korean leaders are.The only way they can continue to keep their own people in check is to try and instigate a war with the South.The Chinese are being used and they dont appear to know what to do.

    ----

    There are two main reasons that China props up the North Korean regime.

    The first is that if North Korea falls over the Chinese do not want millions of North Korean refugess coming into the country, neither do they want the responsibility of governing those remaining in North Korea.

    The US has a heavy influence and military presence in South Korea, which leads us on to the second reason which is that China does not want to see North & South reunited if that means American influence & military bases right on one of China's borders.

  • Comment number 15.

    This really astounds me beyond belief. Does North Korea actually realised what it's doing? World wars have broken out with less cause than the innocent deaths of 46 people. Why such a blunt, direct and unjustified attack? Does N Korea really want to go to war with South Korea and the Western world? They surely must have realised that war on such a small area as the Korean peninsula wouldn't only mean the complete and utter obliteration of the South but the North as well! Seriously it looks like they're driving the whole of Korea into suicide.

    As for our dear President Lee, I don't see why this has taken over a month to investigate- the quicker the action the better!

  • Comment number 16.

    Well, most of the time when a nation attacks another nations assets, war soon follows.

    As to the question of why they did it, well, the glorious leader is a little long in the tooth now, and rumours abounds he hasn't got long left on this world.

    You think he built that huge military machine to simply hand it off to one of his sons or Generals?

    One only needs to look at his cabinet to see they are all not far off full 'retirement', I don't think they are simply going to go quietly, do you?

  • Comment number 17.

    Whatever happens, I soncerely hope that loss of life can be minimised on both sides, however the chances of this are slim. North Korea are very dangerous, and the international community needs to seriously consider it's response. The chances of genocide ensuing are very high, but somehting like the sinking of this ship cannot be ignored or appeased.

  • Comment number 18.

    South Korea is not certain after yet another attack that "almost certainly" came from North Korea...UNCERTAINTY.
    The sinking of the South Korean Navy patrol boat Cheonan - from “the shape of the fracture lines and conditions of the interior and exterior of the hull indicate an underwater explosion.” The 88-meter Cheonan was torn in half near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea. Forty-six lives were lost.
    North Korea’s potential involvement in the Cheonan’s sinking has damaged liberals thinking, shaking faith in the sunshine engagement policy. However, the South Korean Department of Defense, is still very concerned by the paucity of valuable evidence. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has denied his country’s involvement.
    The reality: What is needed are the satellite photos kept by the US military authorities (the motherlode of information on North Korean military locations). South Koreans are not able to reach any solid conclusion about who was where and doing what without these photos, but the photos are only available on a need-to-know basis.
    Well, if this situation (where 46 people died) is not need to know, what would be enough for the US to release the satellite photos?
    This certainly doesn't smell right: It has an American scent. What do those satellite pictures show?

  • Comment number 19.

    It's a real problem is it not. There were tentative moves towards a more harmonious arrangement between N and S.Korea until GWB put a stop to it, thanks to his somewhat simplistic view of the world.
    The problem is the N.Korea leadership,they are isolated and paranoid, they have nuclear weapons, which limits what international action can be taken against them(a factor of interest to other regimes). The Chinese for their own reasons tend to provide support to the N.Korean regime.
    The rest of the world has to make it clear that S.Korea will be supported but there are no plans to attack N.Korea. We may have to wait for a N.Korean Gorbechov, I really cannot see any other course.
    Military action would be criminally stupid, food sanctions will only affect the ordinary N.Koreans. We can apply sanctions against the leadership but we have to have communication channels to them.
    After the Cuban Missile crisis the US and the USSR had the Hot Line to keep an open channel between them, but the Russian leadership were much more reasonable and pragmatic than the N.Koreans.

  • Comment number 20.

    A few rusty bits of metal worked with Iraq - why not North Korea?

  • Comment number 21.

    There is no credibility in any investigation by US, Britain & Australia. Same pretext "WMD" - Operation Iraq.

  • Comment number 22.

    1. At 10:21am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:
    Instead of letting China get in the way, South Korea should have retaliated immediately when their boat was fired upon.
    ------------------------------

    No, what the South Koreans did was clever. Rather than take the untactful guns blazing George Bush approach before anything was proven, they’ve collected information and evidence to back their suspicions, and then presented the conclusive evidence to the international community, similar to what the Kennedy administration did during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Instead of attacking immediately, and giving the North Koreans the opportunity to play the victim, they’ve placed the North Koreans (& China) in a very difficult spot.

  • Comment number 23.

    12. At 11:52am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:
    I know the lunacy that is inherent in the left wing, but even I'm surprised that Chamberlainism is touted as the best policy by the loony left.
    Only the loony left would fail to learn lessons from a world war

    Given your apparently pathological obsession with "the left", I think we can read the "loony" here as projection.

  • Comment number 24.

    Has anyone considered that North Korea just may be telling the truth?
    We should be wary about 'proof' when America and the UK is involved.

  • Comment number 25.

    13. At 11:56am on 20 May 2010, Aziz Merchant wrote:
    Kim Jong Il of North Korea is a weird war-monger. He is destructive and wanton in his approach to other nations particularly its democratic neighbour South Korea.

    Really ? Exactly how many wars has he started ?

  • Comment number 26.

    If the North fired on a ship from the South, then its an act of war.

  • Comment number 27.

    As technically war has never been recinded between the North and South or those countries involved in the Korean war then anything that is possible will be possible. North Korea has been looking for a fight for a number of years and just maybe this event was a tryout which didnt work. Its which way China would react if hostilities happened again, as now they are making inroads into the international markets.

    Really I would make China sort the North out and keep the rest of the world secure. The opposing view is if China helped the North in a conflict then it could turn very nasty for everyone, nobody would be safe and neither would any country.













  • Comment number 28.

    re #12 "Only the loony left would fail to learn lessons from a world war."

    What lessons woud that be? millions of innocent people have to die before politicians learn to get round a table and talk?

    The only winners in wars are arms manufacturers, everyone else (including the so-called victors) lose.

    All wars are good for is death and destruction, murder, rape, crimes against humanity and selling weapons!

  • Comment number 29.

    8. At 11:12am on 20 May 2010, One wrote:
    1. At 10:21am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:
    Instead of letting China get in the way, South Korea should have retaliated immediately when their boat was fired upon.

    -----

    You know nothing - North Korea has an absolute arsenal of heavy artillary pointed at and within range of the South Korean Capital, Seoul.

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth
    ..............................................................

    So you dont think we would fire back eh! Believe me North Korea would not exist either, and God forbid, China would mutter and would stay away.

  • Comment number 30.

    Bro_Winky wrote:


    No, what the South Koreans did was clever. Rather than take the untactful guns blazing George Bush approach before anything was proven, they’ve collected information and evidence to back their suspicions, and then presented the conclusive evidence to the international community, similar to what the Kennedy administration did during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Instead of attacking immediately, and giving the North Koreans the opportunity to play the victim, they’ve placed the North Koreans (& China) in a very difficult spot.


    ====


    Oh how very, very clever of them.

    Tell you what, why not go and visit the families of the 46 victims and explain to them this rational.

    "Hello families of the victims, my name is Bro_Winky. As a left winger, I firmly believe that a strongly worded letter from the UN and China being put in a difficult position, is a far better way of expressing one's thorough dissatisfaction with North Korea's frightful behaviour.

    Mr Chamberlain taught us that 'containment and appeasement' work best in these situations. Your sons did not die in vain"


  • Comment number 31.

    The North Korean Leadership are quite clearly mentally ill and should not be left in charge of a very large and powerful nuclear weapon armed military. A full frontal lobotomy without anesthetic would seem in order.

  • Comment number 32.

    #24 "Has anyone considered that North Korea just may be telling the truth?
    We should be wary about 'proof' when America and the UK is involved."

    So you reckon Britain sunk the South Korean ship? It didn't blow up itself.

    Did the US and UK fake all these attacks too:
    Jan 1967 - attacks South Korean warship near border, killing 39 sailors
    Jan 1968 - commandos storm presidential palace in Seoul in a failed attempt to kill President Park Chung-hee
    Jan 1968 - captures USS Pueblo - one crew member dies and 82 held hostage for 11 months
    Dec 1969 - hijacks South Korean airliner taking dozens of passengers hostage
    Oct 1983 - bombs hotel in Rangoon, Burma in failed attempt to kill South Korean President Chun Doo-hwan - 21 people die
    Nov 1987 - bombs South Korean airliner, killing 115
    Sept 1996 - sub carrying 26 troops disabled off South - some land in South sparking deadly manhunt

  • Comment number 33.

    Those sad people accusing the west of fabricating this whole thing to start another war are missing 5 major points.

    -Britain has had a change of govt between the ship sinking and the cause being proven.
    -Obama has urged restraint not war.
    -Britain and the US are technically AT WAR with North Korea... the UN resolution to the conflict in 1953 was merely a ceasefire. We don't need to provoke a war
    -North Korea has done this sort of thing dozens of times before (see my post 32) and we HAVEN'T responded with force.
    -War with North Korea means war with China. Iraq at least had oil. North Korea has pickled cabbage. Its not worth even one US or UK soldiers life.

  • Comment number 34.

    I'm going to be the Devils advocate here. The ship would have known it was a Torpedo attack instantly by picking up the torpedo's propeler sound on Sonar, along with the attacking submarine when it launched the torpedo, So why were no counter measures deployed? Why didn'r Seoul retaliate instantly? Or is there an excuse for war being cooked up? The South have captured North Korean weapons in the past so it would be easy to stage an attack This is what the North would want us to believe. The Souths hesitation seems a bit iffey.
    However this is more likely a retaliation for the sever damage don to a North Korean ship in an earlier exchsnge of fire. Nothing it seems is ever truely black and white!

  • Comment number 35.

    with the north koreans, negotiating is not going to work. the south koreans must make themselves seem strong and willing to fight a war to win. i am not advocating an invasion of north korea, but the south should launch a like-for-like retaliatory strike on north korea: for example, an air strike on a north korean naval target. this will show little weakness but will not be a direct escalation.

  • Comment number 36.

    All this sabre-rattling plays right into the sick, deviant hands of the norhtern dictatorship, which is only asking for aid in its own uniquely psychotic fashion. Better to do things the Asian way - build a big memorial in the capital (reprised elsehwre as funds permit) to the Cheonan (ships have names, Beeb, use them! or is your internal racism getting out of hand - 'our ships' have names while 'those strange Asian ships' just have a nationality, huh?). Make sure the 46 victims have their full names, possibly busts, all around it, with the incriminating piece of torpedo discretely mounted and labelled. Large inscription to 'the martyrs to the evils of obsolete communicsm and rabid aggression' or whatever the appropriate local idiolect dictates. Postcards, models, posters, school visits, the works. If there's something totalitarian weirdo's can't stand, it's exposure and publicity. Keep the ball rolling, keep the memory alive and, above all, don't shoot back.

    Yet.

  • Comment number 37.

    Acts of war, such as that which North Korea has committed against South Korea occur for specific reasons. There is a need to consider the conditions affecting North Korea and its closest allies, in order to understand what motivates the action, and what North Korea may be trying to accomplish. Clearly the desperate boldness involved in a torpedo attack on a South Korean patrol vessel indicates even greater desperation motivating the attack. Now the stategy appears to be denial meant to further anger the south into aggression. Our most important strategic question becomes what role communist China, North Korea's closest ally, is likely to play, and whether China itself is using the incident as a catalyst to deliberately break from its already highly stressed relations with the west. Relations that are increasingly stressed by worsening conditions within China itself. Could China be using the North and its aggression as a catalyst to justify a radical shift in political direction, inclusive of the possibility of what would amount to another "cultural revolution" ?

  • Comment number 38.

    Maybe the UN 'Love Boat' should leave Haiti and sail to Korea. I'm sure the blue helmets will save the day.

  • Comment number 39.

    Why was the torpedo propeller rusty, if it was only fired 2 months ago? How rusty is it? is there a picture?

  • Comment number 40.

    The all-guns blazing approach is unlikely to achieve anything other than annihilation of South Korea (if you believe all the bluster about their arsenal). How about jamming the North Korean airwaves (radio, TV etc) with the truth about their country's leadership, famines etc. All broadcasting is controlled in PRNK but we must know what frequency this is ...

  • Comment number 41.

    We should keep our Western noses out of their business.

  • Comment number 42.

    #29 You know nothing - North Korea has an absolute arsenal of heavy artillary pointed at and within range of the South Korean Capital, Seoul.

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth
    ..............................................................

    So you dont think we would fire back eh! Believe me North Korea would not exist either, and God forbid, China would mutter and would stay away"

    What would WE fire back with? Unlike North Korea WE don't have any troops in the country at all. China most certainly didn't "mutter and stay away" in 1951 and these days China's army dwarfes ours and they have nukes too. What North Korea can fire at Seoul in an hour would make Seoul look like the Somme.

  • Comment number 43.

    27. At 12:33pm on 20 May 2010, Rays a Larf wrote:
    Really I would make China sort the North out and keep the rest of the world secure.

    Would you care to tell us how you would go about making China sort the North out ?

  • Comment number 44.

    Oh - maybe a nice big war that will inevitably suck in all Asian states, destroying all those booming economies and thus re-balance global trade and provide Europe with the opportunity to eliminate Asian competition and re-establish our manufacturing base and industry! Yippee

    War is good ;-)

  • Comment number 45.

    #28 re #12 "Only the loony left would fail to learn lessons from a world war."

    What lessons woud that be? millions of innocent people have to die before politicians learn to get round a table and talk?"

    Millions were killed in WW2 BECAUSE politicians talked rather than acted... it allowed Hitler free rein to take over most of Europe.

    Incidentally the Soviet Union got control of all of Eastern Europe as a result of WW2. They did really rather nicely out of it

  • Comment number 46.

    Looking at not only this incident but previous other acts of aggression by the north against the south I say give that goofy leader along with his tinpot staff a hefty dose of their own medicine through a series of well planned covert activities.

  • Comment number 47.

    consider the value of lives lost if the wrong move is made on North
    Korea by South Korean armed forces,not a good idea for the south to get involved in a conflict that would unsettle the calm made between the two sections of people after the last conflict ended in a no win result.
    Counting the crosses of those who lost their lives, shocks the soul into realizing that war is a worthless error of judgement by those who seek to glorify in a gamble for gain, not on on behalf of the people, but on behalf of a lost ambition for glory.
    The ideas that some people have of going into a conflict in Korea is a cream cake and tea party, is so far from the rosy image their imagination carries them into. Being brave on a computer is so different from being brave in a country crowded with hills,which cannot be taken from the air they must be taken by the guy who is strong enough,fit enough and some times crazy enough to get to the top of the hill before sun up,along six hundred miles of hostile territory .
    The international community should respond with more wisdom than numbers of willing young men eager to go into combat.

  • Comment number 48.

    29. At 12:39pm on 20 May 2010, Rays a Larf wrote:

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth
    ..............................................................

    So you dont think we would fire back eh! Believe me North Korea would not exist either, and God forbid, China would mutter and would stay away.

    ----

    So if I understand you correctly, you feel the appropraiate response to this incident is a full scale war, probably leaving both countries a smoking ruin. Just so the South can prove that they are not a pushover?

    There's not really any arguing with that kind of bullishness.

  • Comment number 49.

    • 26. At 12:28pm on 20 May 2010, Mike from Brum wrote:
    If the North fired on a ship from the South, then its an act of war.

    Yes but as both countries are technically at war and have been since the early 50’s but more so since mid 2009. For all those who are unaware the cease fire in 1953 (ish) was only a cease fire and not a peace agreement. North Korea pulled out of that in mid 2009 returning the peninsular to a state of war.

    The dangerous part of this is that China will not sit back and watch the US aid South Korea and have US military bases right up on its doorstep. This incident could lead into work war 3. Do not mistake this as another Iraq, or Afghanistan, if we get involved in this there will hundreds if not thousands of dead British soldiers coming home each week.

    This is a very serious situation that could lead into a full scale war with china and Russian Union. So all of you that advocate a full military response; I do hope you put your money where your mouth is and join up when this happens?

  • Comment number 50.

    21. At 12:20pm on 20 May 2010, chandravoi wrote:
    ///There is no credibility in any investigation by US, Britain & Australia. Same pretext "WMD" - Operation Iraq.///

    But Iraq did not have a nuclear deterrent! North Korea has lots of big radioactive missiles - so no one will ever attempt to invade! Instead we may be witnessing another attempt to start a 'regional conflict' - lets hope Sarkozy is not too busy to intervene if it looks like a success!!! ;-)

  • Comment number 51.

    North Korea is able to take pot shots and get away with it.

    Challenge the chinese, are they willing to continue to support this regime. If China backs away, North Korea has nothing.

  • Comment number 52.

    With reference to post 33, I agree with most of your points except the statement about war with North Korea meaning war with China. The Chinese have been quite active behind the scenes trying to reign in their wayward little neighbour, and I think that in the event of any support by China of N Korea, Chinese businessmen should expect to find a major recession coming their way.

    I also agree with the other statements on this thread - South Korea has played the diplomatic card extremely well. North Korea continues to demonstrate to the world why it should be considered a pariah state. Economic sanctions are the only way to deal with these bullies.

  • Comment number 53.

    #34 " The ship would have known it was a Torpedo attack instantly by picking up the torpedo's propeler sound on Sonar, along with the attacking submarine when it launched the torpedo "

    Like the Belgrano heard HMS Conqueror fire on her? The first the Argentinians knew of a torpedo in the water was when the tigerfish blew a big hole in them.

    In shallow, busy water with plenty of background noise a submarine running slowly on batteries is almost silent. Passive sonar works best when the ship doing the listening is moving slowly... at speed its own engine noise blanks out everything else. Even THAT presumes that the sonar operator was at station... he could have had his iPod plugged in or gone to the toilet. Its impossible to stay alert forever.

    No matter what South Korea does it gets condemned. If they'd declared war on the North and it HAD turned out be an old mine or an accident they'd be crucified. When they wait to actually prove what happened its 'suspicious'. It must be great being a despot in 2010.... you can do whatever lunatic or genocidal acts you want and liberal in the west will excuse you and try and blame their own govts instead.

  • Comment number 54.

    I thought Obama was going to engage them in meaningful dialog via the 6 party talks just as he was going to engage Iran. I thought all the problems in the world were the fault of George Bush and once we got rid of Bush all the worlds problems would lie fallow to Obama's silver tounge. Why I am sure N Korea and their sponser China have only world peace and harmony at heart. Kim I'll Jung, Ahmedenajad, Chavez, Castro, they are the world's true peace makers unlike the evil United States your Lefties hate so much.

  • Comment number 55.

    30. At 12:46pm on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:
    Tell you what, why not go and visit the families of the 46 victims and explain to them this rational.

    "Hello families of the victims, my name is Bro_Winky. As a left winger, I firmly believe that a strongly worded letter from the UN and China being put in a difficult position, is a far better way of expressing one's thorough dissatisfaction with North Korea's frightful behaviour.

    Mr Chamberlain taught us that 'containment and appeasement' work best in these situations. Your sons did not die in vain"

    So let me get this straight. At the top of this thread, you advocated annihilating Iran, Syria and North Korea. Now you're all bent out of shape about the deaths of 46 South Koreans. You big old humanitarian.


  • Comment number 56.

    " 39. At 1:06pm on 20 May 2010, typicallistener wrote:
    Why was the torpedo propeller rusty, if it was only fired 2 months ago? How rusty is it? is there a picture?"

    Two months? In salt water high tensile steel starts rusting in 2 days. There's a picture on the BBC website if you want to see it but it sounds like you've already made your mind up that its a fake. Of course if the torpedo said 'made in USA' I suspect you'd happily believe that though.

  • Comment number 57.

    "#29 You know nothing - North Korea has an absolute arsenal of heavy artillary pointed at and within range of the South Korean Capital, Seoul.

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth
    ..............................................................

    So you dont think we would fire back eh! Believe me North Korea would not exist either, and God forbid, China would mutter and would stay away"

    What would WE fire back with? Unlike North Korea WE don't have any troops in the country at all. China most certainly didn't "mutter and stay away" in 1951 and these days China's army dwarfes ours and they have nukes too. What North Korea can fire at Seoul in an hour would make Seoul look like the Somme."

    the chinese arent going to attack: their biggest trading partners are in the west. if they get sucked into a war with the US, which is what a lot of people seem to be saying, then they will lose a collosal export market. they might not respect human rights or western values, but they arent going to commit economic suicide.

  • Comment number 58.

    Was it the same submarine that blew a hole in an oil field in the Gulf Of Mexico ????

  • Comment number 59.

    The fragments of torpedo depicted may well be North Korean, and the ship may well have been struck by a North Korean torpedo. However, to my untrained eye the torpedo seems as though it has been on the sea floor for a long time and is insufficiently damaged.
    A link between the two has to be proven beyond all doubt before anyone can consider taking further action.

  • Comment number 60.

    What was the term Bush used? oh yeah an Axis of Evil Iran, Iraq, and N. Korea 3 nations destabilizing the entire world and preventing a lasing global peace.
    One down 2 to go if only there were some real men of courage and conviction in this world and at the head of the UN.
    Go ahead you Lefties keep playing along with these maniacs until they start WW III.

  • Comment number 61.

    "22. At 12:25pm on 20 May 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:
    No, what the South Koreans did was clever…...Instead of attacking immediately, and giving the North Koreans the opportunity to play the victim, they’ve placed the North Koreans (& China) in a very difficult spot."



    I bet Kim Yong Il is all shaken up by being in that difficult spot.

    N.Korea doesn't attach the same importance to fair play and ethics that the rest of us do. They do what they want in the knowledge that no action will be taken against them, because we all think that putting them in a difficult spot is punishment enough.

    We'll have a few months of stern finger pointing at N.Korea, which they will laugh at. We might even see the UN do even more talking and have even more meetings than usual. Then it'll all quieten down and in a few years, they'll do it again.

  • Comment number 62.

    21. At 12:20pm on 20 May 2010, chandravoi wrote:
    ///There is no credibility in any investigation by US, Britain & Australia. Same pretext "WMD" - Operation Iraq.///

    Interesting that you removed Sweden from the list of investigators though because it doesn't suit your agenda.....

    Of course with North Korea we don't have to fabricate WMD evidence either. Kim Jong Il boasts about his nukes.

  • Comment number 63.

    Considering that N.Korea exists on food aid form many countries including china, maybe if china was convinced it was N.Korea they could have a quiet word with them.

    "Speak quietly and carry a big stick"; you carnt get much bigger than someone's food supplies, political support and overwhelming military force.

  • Comment number 64.

    thomas wrote: We should keep our Western noses out of their business.

    So why are you posting if you can't keep your xenophobic nose out of it yourself. South Korea is our ally, were support our allies. We had people like you in WW2, they were called Nazi sympathizers.

  • Comment number 65.

    While the people of North Korea continue to suffer and die; the regimes answer to the problem is an act of war; just one of many!!!It really proves how insane their leadership is..The insanity of North Korea makes Iran look like Disneyland..Clearly the rest of the world knows that any military action would lead to the deaths of millions; so all they can do is condemn it and forget it happened. The fact that China can't or won't stop all of this makes for a terrifying future..

  • Comment number 66.

    War.

    Is it coincidence that N Korea and Iran are getting uppity just when we're stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't think so.

    N Korea may have armed forces of 1 million but I bet they're rubbish. The biggest challenge will be how to win the peace as we've found before after recent conflicts.

    We must not allow any possibility of these regimes acquiring nuclear weapons.

  • Comment number 67.

    #51 "Challenge the chinese, are they willing to continue to support this regime. If China backs away, North Korea has nothing."

    Challenge them with what? Their banks own much of our debt. Their army is a million strong.

  • Comment number 68.

    "...similar to what the Kennedy administration did during the Cuban missile crisis.

    Instead of attacking immediately, and giving the North Koreans the opportunity to play the victim, they’ve placed the North Koreans (& China) in a very difficult spot." Bro_Winky

    ==================



    You mean like Kennedy's Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba a year earlier?

    Blair, Bush and Clinton all thought that there were WMDs in Iraq based on the evidence. Agree or disagree with the decision to go to war, it doesn't mean they lied.

    Funny, there is absolutely zero evidence that 911 was an inside job, yet the Bush haters have no problem believing all kinds of conspiracy theories.

    How are N. Korea and China in a difficult spot? Seems that nothing much has changed.



  • Comment number 69.

    The most puzzling thing aboput the Korean situation is the Chinese support for North Korea, anything less like a communist state than North Korea would be hard to imagine.

  • Comment number 70.

    No surprises there then.

    As to their relationship, I guess it'll make them get on really well.

    We should not get involved.

  • Comment number 71.

    sounds awesome

  • Comment number 72.

    Post 52. "I also agree with the other statements on this thread - South Korea has played the diplomatic card extremely well. North Korea continues to demonstrate to the world why it should be considered a pariah state. Economic sanctions are the only way to deal with these bullies."
    The problem is how many more sanctions can be leveled against them before they stop noticeing any effect. Plus with Kim jong-il's statment that any sanctions would result in retaliation, Theres not many options left open to the south.
    The Government does not want to appear weak and the public are fed up with the north getting away with this sort of thing. I don't know how much more it will take before the scales tip towards conflict.

  • Comment number 73.

    @Ian of Uxbridge.

    Your statement makes it sound like jamming torpedos is a precise art. It's not, there's no guarantee that the countermeasures will work, so they may well have attempted to evade the torpedo. As for retaliation. We do not know whether they attempted to, or even if they had time to do so. Picking up incoming torpedos is also not a precise art, given the fact that there were clearly two ships in the area, the amount of engine noise would have made it difficult. We also do not know what range the torpedo was launch from, if it was close range the South Koreans would have been helpless.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In general, though, even though this was an act of war, it is difficult to see how the South can react. The international community has been using soft power, unsuccessfully, against the north for too long now. The pre-nuclear North Korea was the one that should have been subject to a military attack.
    The nuclear capability of the North Korean regime changes everything, they would have no qualms about nuking a South Korean city.

    As such, the best thing to do, is to sit back and let North Korea destroy itself from within, as it will do eventually. It might take a decade, but it's better than nuclear war.

  • Comment number 74.

    Incidents like these could spark a major confrontation. The North Koreans have been very slippery and should not be trusted. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is proving to be very costly. China needs to show its clout andtell the north Koreans some home truths!

  • Comment number 75.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 76.

    South Kores better be careful as they should be aware that the other friends of the US of A, have all come to sticky ends due to fabrications! Iraq, Pakistan and afghnistan in order to get at Iran. Now i would not be surprised if the missile had been sent with compliments from a US source in order for your to retaliate and then they can come after your country has sacrificed itself for thier cause! jeez we in britain have lost respect, morality and the worlds audience because we fell for their lies too! it just seems convenient that they found this peice, just like they found an item of clothing from a plane crash in which the bomb was housed and traced it to a shop in malta, when they wanted the libyans to pay for that flight, which is now common knowledge they had nothing to do wiht it!

  • Comment number 77.

    54. At 1:33pm on 20 May 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:
    Why I am sure N Korea and their sponser China have only world peace and harmony at heart.

    China is sponsoring North Korea ? 50p a mile, is it ?

  • Comment number 78.

    12. At 11:52am on 20 May 2010, SystemF wrote:

    Tony wrote:

    Thats the US way, go in guns blazing before it is proven who did it or even if the target is right. It is better to wait and ensure you are right.


    =======


    I don't think you left wingers understand the concept of self-defence and the right to protect yourself with deadly force.

    Now what? weeks after the event S. Korea makes it public what we already knew. Of course now they can't act militarily, so all they can do is get the most inefficient, corrupt talking shop (the UN) to send a "strongly worded letter" to N. Korea.

    And another terrorist attack by a member of the axis of evil goes unanswered. Just like all of Iran's actions and that of Syria.

    I know the lunacy that is inherent in the left wing, but even I'm surprised that Chamberlainism is touted as the best policy by the loony left.

    Only the loony left would fail to learn lessons from a world war.

    --------------------------------------

    I am far from left wing. However, let us look at recent history. The US got hit by Al Qaeda who have camps all over the world. The guys who did the attack were from Saudi Arabia. The mastermind was in Afghanistan. So what does the US do. It has a knee jerk response of invading Afghanistan killing loads of civilians and dedicating itself and other countries to so far 8 years of war with no end in sight, whilst their primary target slips over the border into another country. If they had sent in special forces to take out their target, it would have saved a hell of a lot of hassle and lives.
    We also saw the US invade and occupy Iraq for no real reason. We are still awaiting the find of the WMD and the excuse that the invasion was to change the regime is ridiculous because who gave the right to the US to decide who runs a country that it has nothing to do with and there are plenty of other countries that were/are in a worse position leadership wise then Iraq......like N Korea, Zimbabwe.

    So you tell me, which is better, go in like a bull in a china shop leaving hundreds of innocent dead or go in with a small teamand take out the people you want?

    Are you prepared to go to Afghanistan and Iraq to do the job you want done? Probably not, as it is more comfortable for you to sit there in your nice home yelling for war when you have never even experienced it. Whilst I and others like me are in Afghanistan listening to fools like you advocate war.

    In Korea's case, South Korea has every right to take military action against N Korea and it is not too late to do so. How can you state that N. Korea's actions were an act of terrorism. Do you not know that N and S Korea have been in a state of war since hostilities ended? You people need to calm down with your accusations of terror in any incident, particularly when you know nothing about it.

    Can you tell me what terrorist actions Iran has done? Can you tell me what terrorist actions Syria had done? Please enlighten us or stop with your hysterical yells of terror.

  • Comment number 79.

    60. At 1:41pm on 20 May 2010, ONE-SICK-PUPPY wrote:"What was the term Bush used? oh yeah an Axis of Evil Iran, Iraq, and N. Korea 3 nations destabilizing the entire world and preventing a lasing global peace.
    One down 2 to go if only there were some real men of courage and conviction in this world and at the head of the UN.
    Go ahead you Lefties keep playing along with these maniacs until they start WW III."
    So you think the west should start it instead? Well now that you mention it why don't we bomb syria since they don't agree with us, why not bomb switzerland aswell because they never helped anyone out... No lets bomb anyone who may be a threat to you in the future, so thats everyone who isent you.
    If you take that attitude then your just going to be at odds with everyone who doesent see things your way. So what then, once the world is a smokeing crater?

  • Comment number 80.

    Yes Bro Winky I am sure the North Koreans are now very ashamed of what they did and sincerely sorry, soon they will come to the podium of the UN and apologize to all of us for this little misunderstanding.

    "22. At 12:25pm on 20 May 2010, Bro_Winky wrote:
    No, what the South Koreans did was clever…...Instead of attacking immediately, and giving the North Koreans the opportunity to play the victim, they’ve placed the North Koreans (& China) in a very difficult spot."

    I am of course being sarcastic here Sir as you appear to have no idea who these N Koerean leaders are who starve, mass imprision, and brainwash their own citizens. They are evil Sir they have no shame they have no remorse much like thier friends in Iran.

  • Comment number 81.

    This is an obvious act of war by North Korea and the only way to respond to such an act is to retaliate in kind. This, of course, opens up a whole can of worms on a road traveled before and I'm not sure we need to go there considering all else happening in the world today. Perhaps North Korea figures that there will be no real response [a bunch of whining from impotent old men in the UN does not qualify as a response] and they'll get away with what they did. But if that happens it will show the North Koreans just how week their enemies really are. Any way you look at it there is no good outcome to this circumstance.

  • Comment number 82.

    Whether this specific act of agression is proven or not, North Korea has already proven beyond reasonable doubt exactly what a crack-pot and reckless regime it has. The proof is the millions of people in North Korea who live in squaller, go hungry and die while their leaders spend billions trying to create a nuclear arsenal...and please PLEASE PLEASE don't tell me that western developed nations are same, the MASSIVE difference being that the vaste majority of their citizens live in luxurious conditions in comparison to that of the average North Korean. In my mind, anyone who speaks out in defence of the North Korean 'govt' is simply delusional.

  • Comment number 83.

    This is what Trident was made for :)

  • Comment number 84.

    Do nothing and one day they'll nuke us, unless we do the same first.

  • Comment number 85.

    Had this feelings all the while was only wishing it were not so, but how wrong we all can be knowing the kind of monsters behind the iron curtains in Pyongyang. We should not just keep quite at this it is here today who knows where next.

  • Comment number 86.

    To all the hawks here on Have Your Say . . . military retaliation by the South, whilst entirely justifiable given that they've just lost 46 brave sailors and a corvette to enemy fire, would mean that Seoul would be levelled in minutes. The North has heavy artillery and missile batteries trained on Seoul and ready to fire the moment full hostilities resume - hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of South Koreans in the Seoul metropolitan area would be dead within half an hour. It could possibly be the worst war crime ever committed in human history - the South Korean government doesn't want that kind of blood on it's hands, because people would be blaming it for decades about neglecting the duty of care it has towards it's citizens.

    The South, therefore, should find some other way to hit back at the North, or should perhaps just ignore it. If there's one thing that the petulant North hates more than sanctions and diplomatic attacks on the world stage, it's being flat out ignored by it's enemies.

  • Comment number 87.

    Peace, love, & rock and roll.

  • Comment number 88.

    The North Korean leadership are not strong. They are frightened, and feel cornered. Thsy lash out at any perceived threat, whether it is real or not. Therefore any military sollution will probably end in disaster. The only sollution is to continue the dialogue with them. If this has to be through China then so be it. It is only when they realise that the rest of the world is not an aggressor that we will get openness and peace.

  • Comment number 89.

    "66. At 1:52pm on 20 May 2010, chris911t wrote:

    Is it coincidence that N Korea and Iran are getting uppity just when we're stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan? I don't think so.

    N Korea may have armed forces of 1 million but I bet they're rubbish."

    Ignoring the fact that there aren't any British troops in Iraq I agree with your first post. You only have to see how many deluded liberals will do anything to twist the facts to excuse Kim Jong Il and try and create a western conspiracy. With so many 5th columnists in our own country its no wonder these despots think they can get away it.

    However while North Korea's army is not especially great neither is South Korea's (which is precisely why the North managed to torpedo one of their ships). If you know anything of the original Korean War you'll know the North Koreans and their Chinese allies fought damned hard which is why it took 3 years to get a ceasefire. They carried out human wave attacks of 100,000 men charging straight at you. You'd run out of bullets before they ran away. Our army in the early 1950's was filled with WW2 vets and we lost a lot of men in Korea.

    Korea is bad country for tanks and great country for infantry to dig in & defend. Its not like Iraq where our tanks can charge across a snooker table flat desert.

  • Comment number 90.

    No-one here seems to have considered the 3rd option:

    That this wasn't a conspiracy by the west to frame innocent and peace loving North Korea, that it wasn't ordered by North Korea to cause a war but was the action of one North Korean submarine commander acting outside his orders.

    North Korea has mis-used its submarines on dozens of occasions. They used to kidnap Japanese civillians from Japan with them and in Sept 96 one carrying 26 North Korean soldiers was damaged off the South Korean coast while landing soldiers. If I was commanding a North Korean sub in shallow water trying to land commandos in the South and a South Korean anti-sub ship suddenly appeared in my periscope I might be very tempted to get it before it gets me. That would also explain why the rest of the North Korean military wasn't on alert when the attack happened. It was unplanned.

  • Comment number 91.

    Bill Clintons Secretary of State Madeline All(but)Bright once presented Kim Il Jung with a Basketball signed by Michael Jordon, perhaps he just wants a Hoop to go with it?

  • Comment number 92.

    43. At 1:11pm on 20 May 2010, Mr Cholmondley-Warner wrote:
    27. At 12:33pm on 20 May 2010, Rays a Larf wrote:
    Really I would make China sort the North out and keep the rest of the world secure.

    Would you care to tell us how you would go about making China sort the North out
    ..............................................................
    ever heard of talking, its quite simple its made of words, in this case chinese words.....

  • Comment number 93.

    64. At 1:46pm on 20 May 2010, Andy wrote:
    thomas wrote: We should keep our Western noses out of their business.

    So why are you posting if you can't keep your xenophobic nose out of it yourself. South Korea is our ally, were support our allies. We had people like you in WW2, they were called Nazi sympathizers.

    How is the original post :
    (a) Xenophobic or
    (b) Sympathizing with anyone or anything

    Do tell.

  • Comment number 94.

    48. At 1:15pm on 20 May 2010, One wrote:
    29. At 12:39pm on 20 May 2010, Rays a Larf wrote:

    The minute any conflict restarts Seoul and many of its inhabitants get erased from the earth
    ..............................................................

    So you dont think we would fire back eh! Believe me North Korea would not exist either, and God forbid, China would mutter and would stay away.

    ----
    ......................................................................
    So if I understand you correctly, you feel the appropraiate response to this incident is a full scale war, probably leaving both countries a smoking ruin. Just so the South can prove that they are not a pushover?

    There's not really any arguing with that kind of bullishness.
    .................................................................

    Your missing the point sunshine, if Seoul got smashed we just wouldnt say
    'Oh its a mistake you didnt mean to fire a nuke'....I heard the same muttering in 1938.....

  • Comment number 95.

    North Korea's a war waiting to happen. The leaders won't be happy until they've had a fight with someone, preferably South Korea, whether they win or lose won't matter as long as they get to play with a few of their toys along the way. Lets hope the two teams don't get drawn together in the World Cup...

  • Comment number 96.

    #86 "To all the hawks here on Have Your Say . . . military retaliation by the South, whilst entirely justifiable given that they've just lost 46 brave sailors and a corvette to enemy fire, would mean that Seoul would be levelled in minutes. The North has heavy artillery and missile batteries trained on Seoul and ready to fire the moment full hostilities resume - hundreds of thousands, possibly millions, of South Koreans in the Seoul metropolitan area would be dead within half an hour."

    While I totally agree with your sentiments and think that the South WON'T respond for precisely those reasons the much hyped North Korean artillery ranged on Seoul has one drawback- someone has to give the order to fire. Knocking out most of the North Korean triple C (command control and communication) is relatively easy and artillery, especially artillery that has given away its position by firing is easy prey for fighter aircraft with cluster bombs.

    Likewise the South Koreans still have weekly air-raid drills where they run for the deep shelters. Remember that we fired over a million shells at the German trenches before the Somme.... that didn't kill nearly as many as we planned for and it all went rather wrong for the British after that. I wouldn't fancy being in Seoul if the war restarted but North Korea isn't nearly as dangerous as North Korea thinks it is and that makes the games it plays very unwise indeed. The only reason we tolerate them is that China wants a buffer zone between them and us and historically China has ALWAYS crossed her borders when invaders approach.

  • Comment number 97.

    Interesting isn't it how everyone was in a lather over Bush's Axis of Evil when, as these events and others so profoundly demonstrate, he was but speaking the truth and North Korea is at the apex of it. All food aid should be ended at once and any efforts at dialogue with these people must end forthwith. Quarantine North Korea and let them starve in darkness.

  • Comment number 98.

    North Korea might well be responsible, directly (submarine torpedo) or indirectly (underwater mine), however it's interesting this should happen before the US was scheduled to transfer military control of South Korean military forces to South Korea (currently the US has wartime operational control of South Korean military forces -- a legacy of the Korean War), something Seoul wasn't keen on (it has been pushing for an extension). Now it looks like it might get its wish.

  • Comment number 99.

    Only positive action will bring this bunch of thugs to heel. They only understand war and agressive posing which says volumes for their mentality. Their behaviour is child-like, posturing war then running behind the shirt-tails of China who should now acknowledge they are supporting losers.

  • Comment number 100.

    Before we start pointing fingers at North Korea, I think it wise to know all of the facts FIRST!

    The United States and its allies have a LONG record of keeping the facts from its citizens in cases like this. I could name occasions when that was the case, but the moderators are not about to let me take up two or three full 500 post-sized columns to do it.

 

Page 1 of 4

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.