US manipulating South Korean warship issue: North Korea

Pyongyang, May 28 (IANS) North Korea Friday accused the US of ‘cooking up’ and ‘manipulating’ the South Korean warship sinking issue, and asked Seoul to conduct an ‘objective and fair’ probe, saying it was not involved in the incident.

‘It is the US that is behind the case of ‘Cheonan’. The investigation was steered by the US from its very outset,’ Xinhua reported citing a statement by North Korea’s official news agency KCNA.

The statement asked the US to ‘behave itself, mindful of the grave consequences’.

The South Korean warship ‘Cheonan’ sank March 26 near the maritime border with the two Koreas, in which 46 sailors were killed.

‘The results of an investigation were published with the approval of the US and under its patronage and manipulation,’ the statement said.

‘The ulterior motive of the Obama administration was using the case for escalating instability in the Asia-Pacific region, containing big powers and emerging unchallenged in the region,’ it said.

The US, South Korea and Japan have benefited the most from the case and were ‘the real criminals’ behind the incident, it said.

South Korea released May 20 results of an investigation conducted by international experts, accusing North Korea of sinking the Cheonan in a torpedo attack, and threatened to approach the UN Security Council.

North Korea Friday said South Korea should receive an investigation group from Pyongyang to conduct an objective and fair probe.

Whether or not South Korea received the inspection group from North Korea was the key to judging the ‘Cheonan’ incident, Pak Rim Su, head of the policy bureau of North Korea’s National Defence Commission (NDC), was quoted as saying.

If the investigation results of South Korea were ‘just and honest,’ it should receive the inspection group, Pak said, adding that the investigation should be ‘objective and fair’.

Meanwhile, a senior North Korean military official showed simulated images of how the ‘Cheonan’ could have sunk, clearing any North Korean connection in the sinking.