SEOUL, April 30 (Xinhua) -- Some suspicious metal and plastic pieces of debris have been collected from waters where the South Korean naval frigate "Cheonan" went down late March.
Defense Minister Kim Tae-young made the revelation before the parliamentary defense committee on Friday, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Kim said so far a total of 540 pieces of debris have been collected from the area, and there are one plastic piece and four aluminum pieces have been found among 193 items that have been analyzed by experts.
The aluminum ones appear to be different from the materials used to build the warship, Kim said.
Yonhap said aluminum is a key element used in making torpedoes, while sea mines are made mostly of iron.
The experts are focusing their efforts on analyzing these suspicious pieces, Kim said.
Kim also said chemical analysis on 140 pieces of debris showed no traces of explosive residue.
The 1,200-ton Navy frigate "Cheonan", with 104 crew members onboard, went down on March 26 near the South Korean island of Baekryeongdo off the west coast due to an unexplained explosion that split it in two. Only 58 sailors were rescued.
A joint civilian and military investigation team on Sunday said there is a high possibility that a "non-contact external explosion ", or "close-range external explosion" led to the warship's sinking.
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S Korea rules out its sea mines as cause of naval disaster
SEOUL, April 28 (Xinhua) -- South Korea Wednesday ruled out a possibility that sea mines South Korea placed near a tense maritime border with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ( DPRK) might have caused a recent sinking of its warship, local media reported.
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