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S. Korea erects cenotaph for fallen sailors

BAENGNYEONG ISLAND, South Korea, March 27 — South Korea's top naval officer pledged Sunday to respond "with action" to North Korea's future attacks in a ceremony to unveil a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed by North Korea's torpedo attack a year ago.

The ill-fated sailors were on board the corvette Cheonan, which a multinational investigation team concluded was cut in half after being hit by a North Korean torpedo and sank south of the inter-Korean maritime border in the Yellow Sea.

"I notify you that we are ready to fight (against the enemy) immediately even tonight," Navy Chief of Staff Adm. Kim Sung-chan said, referring to the perished soldiers, in the ceremony to dedicate the 8.7-meter tower held on Baengnyeong Island near the western sea border between the two Koreas.

The event came a day after South Korea marked the first anniversary of the tragic incident, which sharply raised military tensions on the peninsula. More than 300 people, including the bereaved families of the victims and navy soldiers, attended the dedication ceremony.

"It is deplorable that some people still have oblivion and illusion," Kim said. "Let's commit ourselves to show everything through action (against North Korea's attacks)."

The Navy began the 820 million won (US$ 736,000) project to construct the tower in January. (PNA/Yonhap)


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