April 2 (UPI) — A South Korean presidential commission has reversed a decision to reopen investigations into the torpedoing of a South Korean warship, after pleas from families of the soldiers who died during the North Korean provocation.
The Presidential Truth Commission on Deaths in the Military decided in December it would restart investigations into the 2010 sinking of the warship Cheonan, more than a decade after South Korean officials and an international team concluded that a North Korean torpedo sunk the ship, YTN and Yonhap reported Friday.
The decision to revisit the case drew complaints Thursday from the families of South Korean sailors who died during the sinking. The probe was not publicly disclosed until Thursday, according to reports.
The opposition to the new investigation factored into a commission decision Friday. The group said after a 20-minute meeting the probe would not take place, citing lack of eyewitnesses.
“The [commission’s decision] reflects the will of the bereaved family, the victims and the surviving sailors,” said Seo Jae-il, a member of the group, according to YTN.
Families opposed the reinvestigation because it was widely understood as a government decision to challenge the results of the past probe.
The official findings of May 20, 2010, were presented during the presidency of Lee Myung-bak, a conservative and a member of the opposition. The sinking took place March 26, 2010.
On Friday, the presidential Blue House said it was “not at all” involved in the decision to suspend the reinvestigation.
“On West Sea Defense Day, [President Moon Jae-in] said he expresses his condolences to military personnel. That is the sincere position of the president,” the Blue House said, according to the Donga Ilbo.
Lee Seong-woo, the chairman of a group that represents the families of the fallen sailors, said he requests an apology from the government for considering the case’s reopening.
Lee said 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 on the anniversary of the warship sinking, according to reports.