News / Asia

Audit Critical of S. Korean Military's Reaction to Warship Sinking

Government auditors in South Korea say an investigation has revealed the country's military chief was absent from duty the night of the March 26 attack on a naval ship and then tried to cover that up. Overall, auditors accuse the military of bungled crisis management in reacting to the ship's sinking, which is blamed on North Korea.

The audit of the South Korean military's response to the sinking of the Cheonan has produced a stinging condemnation of the country's top commanders and the military response to the incident.  

The Board of Audit and Inspection says General Lee Sang-eui, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was asleep after a drinking session during the time he claimed to have been in the command center ordering forces on high alert.

The report also contends that critical reports sent up the chain of command were delayed or distorted, including early information from the Cheonan that its officers believed they had been hit by a torpedo.

Another South Korean patrol ship, the Sokcho, which was in the area, informed the Second Fleet it responded by firing at a suspected partly surfaced North Korean submarine. Instead, fleet officers allegedly ordered the Sokcho to formally report that it had shot at a flock of birds.

Security analysts say the audit reveals a reaction to the crisis riddled with tardy responses, excuses and cover-ups by a military ill-prepared for an attack.

Baek Seung-joo, a director of the Korea Institute of Defense Analyses, says the investigation confirms why the South Korean people mistrusted the military's response to the Cheonan sinking.

The Defense Ministry says a big reshuffle of commanders will take place next week. The audit board recommends that 25 officers, including 12 top commanders, be reprimanded.

Professor Choi Jong-cheol of the Korea National Defense University predicts General Lee will have to resign. But he contends it will not be feasible to remove so many other high-ranking commanders.

Choi says it makes sense that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs would be replaced. But the others being scrutinized are the critical commanders in case war should erupt, so it would be unprecedented to dismiss them all.

The board says a significant number of military secrets were leaked to the media covering the Cheonan sinking or issued in military news releases. Auditors indicate that some of their findings of fault are even more extensive than can be revealed without further compromising South Korean national security.

South Korea, along with a number of other nations, blames the sinking of the Cheonan on a torpedo fired by a North Korean submarine. Forty-six South Korean sailors died on the Cheonan.

The incident has significantly raised tension on the Korean peninsula. The two Koreas in the early 1950's battled to an inconclusive truce but have never signed a peace treaty.

You May Like

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More