On March 26th 2010, The ROKS Cheonan, a Pohang-class corvette of the Republic of Korea Navy was sunk. This class of ship was designed for coastal defense and anti-submarine warfare(ASW), and Republic of Korea(south) officials have announced that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean submarine. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea(north) denies any involvement.
Reuters and a South Korean news agency Yonhap News, have reported that ROK officials said, “The metallic debris and chemical residue appear to be consistent with a type of torpedo made in Germany, indicating the North may have been trying to disguise its involvement by avoiding arms made by allies China and Russia.”. They identified the torpedo as German made.Further comparrison of this torpedo on display and German DM2 series torpedoes, show that the torpedo supposedly fired by the North may very well be a DM2A3 or DM2A4 heavyweight torpedo. The DM2 series is made in Germany for export to countries including, Norway, Israel, Portugal, Spain, Greece, and South Korea.
The Republic of Korea Navy operates Type 214 submarines, also built and exported from Germany.This class of submarine uses these 533mm DM2A3 and DM2A4 torpedoes.
North Korea’s Korean People’s Navy operates a submarine fleet of ex-Soviet and Chinese Romeo-class and Whiskey-class submarines. All of these subs were built in the 1950’s and Early 1960’s, use Soviet and Chinese designed torpedoes and do not use German made weaponry.
So, if it is admitted that a German torpedo like those used in South Korea’s navy was used to sink Cheonan, Then who is implicated? The North does not possess these weapons or the technology to use them, but the South does have them and does use them.
The Gulf of Tonkin Incident started a war that cost 58,000 American and over 2 million Vietnamese civilian lives. It was later admitted by the National Security Agency and formerSecretary of Defense Robert Macnamara that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident didn’t really happen.
This current situation between South and North Korea, echoes the situation created by the Gulf of Tonkin Incident between the United States and North Vietnam. This has the potential to be exploited into war between the two Koreas. US forces in Japan and Okinawa can expect to stay longer as a result as well.