Government officials said Sunday that the cause of the sinking of the ship Cheonan has yet to be determined. The authorities have played down a North Korean involvement in the incident, but some military officials and experts as well as survivors argue that an outside impact, not an accidental explosion inside, could have caused the deadly incident. The area in which the patrol boat sank has been a hot zone for inter-Korean naval skirmishes for several years. In January, patrol vessels from both Koreas exchanged gunfire, following a similar exchange in November in which a North Korean vessel was severely damaged and a North Korean sailor was killed. The North Korean military threatened to retaliate. Against that backdrop, a torpedo from a North Korean submarine might have hit the Cheonan, some insist.
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