Asia-Pacific

N Korea to give torpedo sample‎

Cheonan being placed on a barge after a giant crane lifted it from the seabed (15 April)
Image caption South Korea's Cheonan warship was sunk in March, killing 46 sailors

North Korea says it is willing to hand over samples of its torpedos to prove it was not behind the deadly sinking of a South Korean warship.

It said aluminium alloy fragments salvaged by South Korea from the wreck in March "prove themselves that the torpedo was not from the North".

Pyongyang said its torpedos were "made of steel alloy material".

A multinational investigation found Pyongyang responsible for the sinking of the Cheonan warship.

The Seoul-led team said in May that it had "overwhelming" evidence that North Korea had fired an aluminium-made torpedo, killing 46 sailors.

Pyongyang has always insisted that it had nothing to do with the incident in the Yellow Sea.

'Conspiratorial farce'

Investigators said they had a partial torpedo motor and propeller, dredged from the seabed, which matched a type which the North had previously offered for export.

The South has also presented aluminium fragments allegedly from a North Korean torpedo.

North Korea said it was willing to hand samples from its torpedos to the US and South Korea, in an official statement carried by the state Korean Central News Agency said.

The commission rejected the findings of the inquiry as the "most hideous conspiratorial farce in history".

It challenged the discovery of the torpedo motor and propeller.

"It is nonsensical for them to claim that a civilian fishing boat appeared all of a sudden and netted the propelling body which dozens of warships equipped with sophisticated detecting devices failed to find out in at least 50 days," the statement said.

The North has demanded that it be permitted to send a high-level team to the South to inspect the evidence.

The South has rejected this. Relations between the two remain strained.