[EDITORIALS]Threats require prompt action

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[EDITORIALS]Threats require prompt action

Since the Sept. 11 terror attacks in 2001, terrorism has surfaced as a public enemy that humankind as a whole must contend with. Kim Sun-il’s death in Iraq showed that Korea and Koreans are no longer safe from the threat of terrorism.
Korea has had its brushes with terrorism in the past with the attempted assassination of President Chun Doo Hwan while he was visiting Myanmar in 1983 and various infiltration attempts by North Korean agents. Yet, strangely, Korean society has remained insensitive to the danger of terrorism.
Of course, there is no need for the entire country to become paranoid over a vague threat and certainly no need for the government to restrict the freedom of the public. However, we should take certain precautions on a national level for possible contingencies. Mr. Kim’s death taught us that we must review our society’s capability to deal with terrorism.
Countries that have dispatched or plan to dispatch troops to Iraq are at a high risk of becoming targets of terrorist attacks such as the train bombing in Spain, which took 190 lives.
Early last year, the National Intelligence Service found and extradited a member of Al Qaeda after intensifying security at the Incheon airport. In 2002, another individual suspected to be an al-Qaeda member was extradited when attempting to enter Korea.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 wanted people from the six countries that the United States has classified as “terrorist-supporting nations,” including Iraq. However, no proper supervisory measures are being taken. We must consolidate a system to cope with terrorist threats.
Reforms in foreign policy, security and intelligence-related agencies that had been delayed should be implemented promptly and an agency dealing wholly with terrorism should be established.
In addition, the Terrorism Prevention Act, which failed to pass the last regular National Assembly session, should be pursued again. The bill was rejected at the time because the concept of terrorism had been too vague and there had been criticism about too much power being given to the National Intelligence Service. There are various ways to revise the bill to avoid such problems. Terrorism has become an all-too-real threat.
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