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Military counters controversial documentary on Cheonan warship sinking

All Headlines 16:20 April 30, 2013

By Kim Eun-jung

SEOUL, April 30 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's defense ministry on Tuesday criticized a controversial documentary that cast doubts on a multinational team's conclusion that North Korea was responsible for the sinking of Cheonan warship two years ago, saying it creates confusion about the tragic incident.

"Project Cheonan Ship," which is directed by independent filmmaker Baek Seung-woo and produced by director Chung Ji-young, challenges the South Korean government's claim that the North is responsible for torpedoing a navy vessel that was patrolling the tensely guarded western sea with 104 crewmen on March 26, 2010. Pyongyang denied any involvement.

The movie drew media attention after it was first shown on Saturday at the 14th Jeonju International Film Festival. The festival, which began on April 25 and runs through May 3, is supported by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The defense ministry demanded the film festival organizer reconsider showing the movie, saying it could create confusion over the tragic incident that took the lives of the young soldiers.

"Claiming the cause of the Cheonan warship sinking was a shipwreck or collision through a documentary film only causes confusion among South Korean people," ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok said in a briefing. "The Cheonan warship sank after it was hit by a North Korean submarine's torpedo attack."

Kim said a multinational investigation team, involving the United States, England, Canada, Australia, Sweden, and Russia, made the conclusion, noting it is "internationally approved."

According to a senior official, the ministry is considering an injunction to bar release of the movie, jointly working with the Navy and bereaved families of the fallen soldiers to investigate whether the documentary contains false claims or defamatory material.

Chung Ji-young is know for his politically charged films, including "Unbowed (2012)," which questions the credibility of the South Korean justice system, and "National Security (2012)," which portrays a national police inspector's brutal torture of a former leading democracy leader Kim Geun-tae.


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