Update: Consider this can of worms officially closed! Do not open!
The United States on Wednesday rejected a call by North Korea for a new investigation of the sinking of a South Korean warship in March that Seoul blames on Pyongyang. The U.S. said the findings of a South Korean inquiry that attributes the attack to North Korea are "compelling."
The State Department said another investigation of the sinking is unwarranted and the focus of the world community should now be on coming up with an appropriate response to Pyongyang's provocative behavior.
The comments follow a North Korean request to the UN Security Council for a new inquiry into the March 26 sinking of the South Korean navy ship, the Cheonan. Pyongyang wants another investigation under UN auspices in which both North and South Korea would participate.
Pyongyang denies responsibility and said in a letter to the Security Council on Wednesday that the most reasonable way to settle the matter is for the two Koreas to conduct a joint investigation.
At a news briefing here, State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said the United States "sees no ambiguity" about who sank the ship and that it is time for North Korea to accept responsibility.
"There's a difference between restraint and willful blindness to consistent problems."
President Obama, on Chinese reticence on accepting the results of the international investigation of the Cheonan and supporting condemnation of North Korea at the UN Security Council.
Hmmm. Problems like using the wrong clipart to illustrate your slide show on North Korean perfidy.
When queried by journalists about discrepancies between the CHT-02D torpedo that attacked the Cheonan and the one depicted in the diagram, investigators said Tuesday that the pictured torpedo was of the model PT-97W and that the error was due to "a mix-up by a staff member while preparing for the presentation."
A South Korean military spokesman said the error was discovered after the press conference and a presentation of the evidence in front of the UN Security Council featured the correct diagram.
Actually, a "consistent problem" in the ROK's Cheonan case has been revelations of falsification of military records concerning the incident and, today, roughly five weeks after the fact, acknowledgment of an embarrassing flub in South Korea's presentation of its airtight case.
As I've stated before, there are solid reasons to believe that North Korea pulled off the attack.
There are also solid reasons to believe that the investigation is an evidentiary clusterf*ck, and the reason that South Korea is only asking for a meaningless "president's letter" from the UN Security Council is that the dossier has as many holes (and as bad a smell) as a piece of moldy Swiss cheese.
As China is by now well aware, President Obama's enthusiasm for this shoddy case has everything to do with his interest in supporting Lee Myung-bak's South Korea as an upgraded military and strategic counterweight to China.
Today, courtesy of the New York Times, the Obama administration tried to walk back its harsh public scolding of China at the G20 summit. “The toughest part of a generally positive” talk, as the inevitable anonymous official put it.
However, I suspect that the toothpaste is pretty much out of the tube by now.