A North Korean torpedo attack was the most likely cause for the sinking of a South Korean warship last month, according to a U.S. military official.
The United States believes the ship was sunk by the blast of an underwater explosion, but that the explosive device itself did not come in contact with the hull of the South Korean ship, the official said. This is the same conclusion expressed by South Korean military officials.
The U.S. Navy has an investigative team assisting the South Koreans.
The U.S. official declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter and due to the fact neither South Korea or the United States has publicly discussed any potential response.
The 1,200 ton corvette Cheonan was split in half by the blast on March 26.
Forty of Cheonan's 104 crew members have now been confirmed dead, and six
more are also believed dead, though they are still listed as missing.
Fifty eight others were rescued before the vessel sank.
The Korea Times is reporting a Chinese developed Type EO-3G torpedo may have been the weapon used. It is said to have the homing capability to hit a ship after tracking the vessel's screws acoustically. U.S. Navy warships are equipped with sophisticated sensors and acoustic technology aimed at tracking such threats.