April 28 (UPI) -- Seoul's military said the 2010 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan was carried out by North Korea, a statement that supports the official findings presented during the presidency of Lee Myung-bak, a member of the opposition.
South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook told members of the National Assembly Defense Committee that North Korea is responsible for the torpedoing of the South Korean warship, in response to a question from Rep. Lee Chae-ik of the opposition People Power Party, News 1 reported Wednesday.
Suh also criticized Shin Sang-cheol, a former member of the investigation team that presented its official findings on May 20, 2010.
According to Yonhap, Shin had filed a petition in September to reopen the case. Shin claimed that the Lee administration had "manipulated" the incident. The petition led to restarted investigations in December that were suspended earlier this month after complaints from families of the soldiers who died during the North Korean provocation.
Suh said Tuesday Shin is a "baffling person" who "denies the findings of the [multinational] Civilian-Military Joint Investigation Group," Herald Business reported Wednesday.
South Korea's military chief also said he finds the decision to reinvestigate the disaster "regrettable." Suh said he was not aware of the decision to reopen the probe until he read local news reports. The issue of reinvestigation never reached him because an office in his ministry only checks for duplicate civil complaints. Suh said it was "difficult to confirm" whether the decision letter pertained to the Cheonan sinking.
Members of the Presidential Truth Commission on Deaths in the Military who had reopened the investigation were requested to attend the hearing but did not appear Wednesday, according to Herald Business.
Lee Seong-woo, the chairman of a group that represents the families of the fallen sailors, said earlier this month the decision in December was made without consultation with the victims' families and survivors most deeply affected by the North Korean provocation. Survivors have said they experience post-traumatic stress disorder.