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Defense Minister should be responsible for concealing drone incident

Defense Minister should be responsible for concealing drone incident

Posted April. 05, 2014 05:07,   


The Defense Ministry said to the media on Wednesday afternoon that it was closely investigating the unmanned aircraft, suspecting that they were from North Korea. Nine days have passed since the drones were first found. After receiving a report from a hiker who found a drone in Paju, the military said the drone is unlikely to have been sent by the North. Unless another drone had been found, the military would have tried to hide the fact that our airspace was open to North Korea.

At the briefing on Wednesday, the Defense Ministry underestimated the performance of the camera equipped in the unmanned plane in Paju and failed to mention that the plane flew over the presidential office and took pictures. A media outlet released Thursday a “picture” allegedly taken from the sky above the presidential office at 9:22:02 a.m. on March 24 by the drone. The Defense Ministry said it would hold the head of the Agency for Defense Development accountable for leaking the investigation result. But it is the Defense Ministry that should take responsibility for minimizing and hiding the fact, not promptly responding to the situation, and reporting false information. Even the ministry`s spokesman Kim Min-seok said, “It is difficult to find where the North Korean drone took off even if we spend more than 30 trillion won (28.3 billion U.S. dollars) of the defense budget.” But why do the people have to feel insecure about national security despite taxpayers-funded military spending?” It is really inappropriate to complain about the budget.

It is nothing new that the military tried to minimize and hide North Korea’s provocations. When the naval corvette of Cheonan was sunk in 2010, the naval headquarters did not report to the leadership that the vessel was probably shot by a North Korean torpedo. The joint chief of staff manipulated even the time of the bombing. Though the Defense Ministry did not convene an emergency task force, it reported to the defense minister that it did. When a North Korean solider knocked on the door of a barrack in the front line in Gangwon Province in 2012, the ministry falsely reported that it had confirmed the soldier from a surveillance camera. For the false report, five generals and nine filed officers were reprimanded, which was the largest as a single case in history. Back then, Defense Minister Kim Gwan-jin apologized and determined to realign the military, saying, “It was a clear failure of our security operations, and I admit that there was a problem in our system.” But I would like to ask if the military has changed a bit.

The Defense Ministry declared numerous times that it will punish North Korea for provocations without fail. At the end of last year, Minister Kim said the ministry will increase surveillance devices, saying, “We are focusing on collecting information to check North Korea’s situation after the execution of Jang Song Taek.” The ministry should discipline the military first before complaining about the budget. It should be held accountable for leaving the sky over the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae, South Korea’s most important national facility, unattended to the North. Minister Kim is not free from the responsibility either.