March 27 (UPI) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in publicly acknowledged Friday the 2010 sinking of the warship Cheonan was carried out by North Korean forces.
In a first-time admission as president regarding the torpedoing of the warship that killed 46 South Korean sailors, Moon said the "official government position on the incident is that it was carried out by North Korea," Yonhap reported.
Moon made the remarks during a ceremony to mark the fifth annual Yellow Sea Defense Day. Thursday was the 10th anniversary of the Cheonan sinking. Families of the victims of the incident were present at the ceremony on Friday, including Yoon Cheong-ja, mother of Min Pyeong-ki, a master sergeant who died 10 years ago.
Moon may have spoken impromptu, according to Newsis.
Yoon approached Moon as he was getting ready to burn incense at the memorial. The woman grabbed the president and reportedly said, "Please tell me if this was the act of North Korea, or someone else."
Yoon also said there has never been any truth-telling regarding "North Korea's act."
"Please let this elderly person release her grief," Yoon said to Moon as she demanded to know the truth.
Moon honored the victims of the warship sinking on Friday for the first time since assuming office. In 2018, Moon skipped the ceremony due to overseas trips. Last year, the president kept busy with a "regional economic tour" of Daegu, according to Newsis.
In March 2015 before entering office, Moon did say the attack on the Cheonan was a North Korean act.
"When the Cheonan was sinking, a North Korean submarine carried out a sneak attack then fled to the North," Moon had said at the time, according to Yonhap.
In 2010, North Korea denied it was responsible for the sinking. China has also dismissed the findings of South Korea and the United States.