S.Korea raises warship, finds clues on sinking

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea yesterday raised  the front half of a warship that exploded and sank a month ago  near a contested sea border with North Korea, finding clues  that support growing suspicions Pyongyang attacked the vessel.

The 1,200-tonne corvette Cheonan sank in what military  officials said was likely a torpedo attack.

Forty-six South Korean sailors were killed in what could be  one of the deadliest strikes by Pyongyang on its rival since  the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The North has denied  involvement.

South Korea’s president on Friday gave the clearest signal  yet Seoul had no plan to launch a revenge attack, calming  investors worried that armed conflict would damage the South’s  rapidly recovering economy.

“The probably catastrophic costs of a war on the peninsula  will greatly constrain the US and South Korean options for a  military response, which thus remains an unlikely trigger for  major military conflict,” the global strategy group Control  Risks wrote in a research note this week.

The front end of the ship was raised by a giant sea crane  and drained before being placed on a barge.
One body has been found so far in the just-raised wreckage  and six sailors were still missing, Yonhap news agency  reported. The bodies of most of the 46 missing were found in  the stern section raised earlier this month. Another 58 were  rescued alive.

“The way a hatch (near where the ship split in two) had  been thrown off its hinge indicates there had been a very  strong external impact,” Yonhap quoted an unidentified military  official as saying, adding weight to the torpedo theory.

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