South Korea sent a letter on June 4 asking the council to respond to the sinking of the 1,200-ton Cheonan "in a manner appropriate to the gravity of North Korea's military provocation."

in depth


Q&A: Tensions on the Korean peninsula
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  Focus: North Korea, a state of war
  Background: China's Korean balancing act 

Following Monday's meeting the council said it will continue its consultations on the incident.

UN diplomats speaking on condition of anonymity said China, the North's closest ally, is opposed to a third round of sanctions against Pyongyang and indicated the more likely result will be a presidential statement.

At Monday's informal council meeting, Yoon Duk-yong, co-chair of South Korea's international civilian-military investigation team, said he made a 23-minute presentation to the council and showed a seven-minute video on the team's findings.

Members of the team then answered questions for one-and-a-half hours, he said.

Yoon said the team presented evidence that the Cheonan was sunk by a torpedo launched "by a North Korean midget submarine".

"We identified the torpedo as North Korean CHT02D on the basis of our recovered piece of that torpedo, which was the propulsion part including two propellers, a shaft, steering plates and a motor," he said.

North a 'victim'

Before heading into his closed-door meeting with the council, North Korea's deputy UN ambassador Pak Tok Hun told reporters he strongly disagreed with the findings of the South Korean investigation.

South Korea says the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean torpedo [Reuters]

He said North Korea had "nothing to do with" the sinking.

"We know. We are just a victim. So we'd like to make our position clear here."

After the meetings, Japan's UN Ambassador Yukio Takasu said he and other council ambassadors had asked the South Korean team many questions about other possible causes for the sinking of the Cheonan.

He said "many of us" came away believing the only explanation was a deliberate North Korean torpedo attack.

By contrast, Takasu said, "the North Korean delegation came with very little substance".

"Basically, they claimed that it is not South Korea but North Korea which is victim, so therefore they should be given opportunity to visit the site of the sinking," he said.