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Gov`t insensitiveness to security spawns public’s concern

Gov`t insensitiveness to security spawns public’s concern

Posted April. 08, 2014 02:08,   


The Park Geun-hye administration has revealed a large loophole in its security readiness. The government has only taken belated responses despite North Korea’s reconnaissance drones making mockery of the South’s air defense system, and the North’s artillery shelling onto the South Korean waters, damaging the public’s trust in the government. The "Dresden proposals on national reunification" calling for expansion of comprehensive exchange with the North, and the Korean Peninsula trust-building process are all based on the South’s solid defense readiness. As the foundation of security is on shaky ground, however, the public has mounting anxiety over national security.

Critics say that as all government ministries are scrambling to chase after “the reunification bonanza,” which President Park raised as a key national agenda early this year, the government may have failed to properly detect "security loopholes" created through asymmetric power. President Park’s high approval rating exceeding 60 percent in her second year in office is also considered a factor for “insensitiveness toward crisis.’

As soon as the senior presidential secretaries’ meeting opened on Monday, President Park said, “The general public and residents near the demilitarized zone have mounting anxiety,” in openly criticizing the military over the issue. She also said, “Drones from North Korea apparently have conducted far-reaching reconnaissance flights in our country, and the military authorities` complete failure thus far to detect such incidents illustrates problems both in our air defense system and in ground reconnaissance system.”

“We should take seriously the North’s continuous launch of missiles and reinforcement of its reconnaissance activities,” Park said. “The government should devise countermeasures at the earliest date possible, and should ensure to beef up security of major facilities and maintain defense preparedness.” She also said, “The government must devise countermeasures to immediately curb and deter the North’s provocations in whatever forms, to be ready for the possibility of additional provocations,” instructing officials to remain vigilant.

The South cannot afford to disregard psychological aspect of national security. According to a public survey conducted on Friday by the polling agency Real Meter, those who replied “I have security concerns” accounted for 54.4 percent, which far outnumbered those who answered “I don’t have any concerns” at 35.5 percent. The ruling and opposition parties in the political circle have made unanimous voice to urge reinforcement of notational security in a rare act of collaboration, but they have yet to devise proper countermeasures as they are scrambling to get prepared for the June 4 local elections.

The Defense Ministry has also rushed to draw countermeasures. Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin called a meeting of top military commanders from across the nation on Monday, and said "small unmanned aerial vehicles that are believed to be sent from North Korea are new threat,” instructing the military “to urgently prepare air defense measures against the threat for the short- and mid-term.”

However, none of the measures that the ministry suggested are new. Minister Kim stressed at the meeting that the military makes all-out efforts to establish joint defense readiness between civilians, the government and the military, including public advocacy and improvement of the reporting network. All three drones that have been found were reported by civilians, which has illustrated loopholes in the military’s reconnaissance system, but the minister mentioned civilians’ reporting. Critics say that Kim’s instruction, which asked defense readiness for drones by using the existing military capability until the military secures new detection equipment, has only revealed practical limitations in the South Korean military’s capability to counter small-size drones from the North.