Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Korea on Alert; Fears Raised after Naval Ship Sinks

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Sunday (Maroochydore, Australia)

Korea on Alert; Fears Raised after Naval Ship Sinks

Article excerpt

Byline: KWANG-TAE KIM of AP

SOUTH Korean authorities stepped up searches for 46 sailors still missing yesterday, hours after a naval ship sank near a disputed sea border with North Korea.

Navy and coast guard vessels, and air force planes were searching the waters near South Korea's Baeknyeong Island where the 1088-tonne Cheonan sank during a routine patrolling mission.

The Joint Chiefs of Staff said rescuers had picked up 58 sailors but 46 were missing.

President Lee Myung-bak ordered officials to quickly find the cause of the sinking while keeping in mind all possibilities, presidential spokeswoman Kim Eun-hye said.

There was no indication North Korea was to blame, but troops kept a vigilant watch.

Kim added there were no signs of North Korean troop movement.

Some senior government officials have speculated the sinking may have been an accident, not an attack, South Korean media said.

Friday's accident happened hours after North Korea's military threatened "unpredictable strikes" against the US and South Korea, in anger over a report the two countries were planning to prepare for possible instability in the totalitarian country. …

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