NKorea mine 'may have' hit warship

BAENGNYEONG:South Korea’s defence minister today said North Korea may have intentionally floated a mine to damage a naval ship that exploded and sank this week.Forty-six crew members are missing and believed trapped within the wreckage of the ship, which went down in the Yellow Sea on Friday night, in one of the country’s worst sea disasters.Fifty-eight members were rescued from the site of the incident.

While the cause of the

explosion is unknown, Defence Minister Kim Tae-young told lawmakers in Seoul today that

rival North Korea may have floated a mine toward the ship. He also said the explosion could have been caused by a mine placed during the Korean War.South Korean officials had earlier said they did not believe the North was behind the explosion.

The two nations remain at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The area where the accident occurred was the scene of deadly naval clashes in 1999 and 2002, and of a firefight last November.

Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young told parliament’s defence committee there were no signs

of a torpedo attack

ahead of the explosion, citing accounts of rescued sailors who were operating the ship’s radar.

“It is possible that a North Korean sea mine could have drifted into our area,” he said.

Kim said investigators could not rule out the possibility of a mine which came adrift from its moorings. South

Korea has not installed any mines off the west coast, the minister said.