US To Give Priority to South Korean Naval Vessel Sinking

The U.S. will investigate why a South Korean warship sank near the disputed border with North Korea before seeking to jumpstart nuclear talks with Pyongang.

North-South tensions have been high since an unexplained explosion split the 1,200-ton corvette into two pieces after exploding March 26 during a routine patrol near the North Korean Border. The area around the border was the scene of deadly naval clashes between the North and South in 1999 and 2002 and of a firefight last November.

The South has not yet accused the North of involvement in the blast. However, its defense minister has raised the possibility that a mine or torpedo attack may have cause the explosion.

The sailors that survived the disaster said an external blast tore the ship apart, discounting theories that it sank because of an onboard explosion or due to a grounding.