[EDITORIALS]Letting Down Our Guard

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[EDITORIALS]Letting Down Our Guard

We wonder if the government has been looking on as a spectator or has even assisted in the slackening of security awareness among our people. The testimony of senior National Intelligence Service officials on Monday at a National Assembly committee and the positive evaluation of a North Korean revolutionary opera printed in a Defense Ministry newspaper show clearly how negligent the government's security awareness measures are. Shin Kuhn, head of the intelligence agency, supported his predecessor's shocking statement earlier that Song Du-yul, a professor at Muenster University in Germany, is in fact Kim Chol-su, an alternate member of the North Korean Workers' Party politburo.

Lee Han-yeong, who is distantly related to Kim Jong-il, suggested that the reports are true, and that Mr. Song induced a Korean studying in Germany to defect to the North. These claims about the professor's identity, supported also by Hwang Jang-yop, who worked in the politburo, should have led to action by the intelligence agency with regard to Mr. Song's media activities and selection for an award here. Measures to bring out the truth would have prevented certain media companies, organizations or executives from harm or unnecessary suspicion and would have diminished the chances of a bigger problem. But the agency just watched things play out. Isn't that an abandonment of its duties? It is also dumbfounding that while acknowledging that Lee Han-yeong was killed by a spy secretly sent by the North, it has not demanded an apology and a halt to such activities from the North.

The Ministry of National Defense's newspaper carried the North's characterization of its opera, "Sea of Blood," as "a perfect piece embodying the juche idea." The article was not even an issue within the army, which says the North is our "main enemy." Here is another example of how loose our security awareness is. Security and reconciliation/cooperation are the two pillars of our engagement policy toward North Korea. If a hole in our security develops as a consequence of reconciliation and cooperation, reconciliation will soon stall. The National Intelligence Agency should bear in mind that security is not something to be played with.
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