A South Korean naval ship sank on March 26 after an explosion ripped the vessel into two. Suspicion of the source of the explosion immediately focused on North Korea, although South Korean and American officials emphasized that there was no proof that the incident was an attack and that it could have resulted from a collision with a mine planted decades ago. If North Korea is behind the explosion, the reason may lie in reports about the country’s population becoming more aware of the oppression they are being subjected to.
Initially, South Korea and the U.S. downplayed notions that the ship was sunk by Kim Jong-Il’s military. The location of the sinking was in the Yellow Sea near the North Korean coast in disputed waters that have previously been the scene of naval clashes as recently as November. The South Korean defense minister is now stating that he thinks the explosion was caused by a torpedo, but he isn’t ruling out the possibility of an accidental explosion from a Korean War-era mine or the deliberate targeting of the ship with a mine.