[EDITORIALS]A time for us to be resoluteSo, the radical Islamic terrorist group Al Qaeda has urged Muslims to attack South Korea.
Through a voice message aired Friday through the TV network Al-Jazeera, Al Qaeda’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, made clear that South Korea, along with Britain, France, Israel, Austria and Poland, is a target.
The Al Qaeda warning reminds us that South Korea is now on the terrorist hit list ― but it was inevitable the moment we took the decision to dispatch troops: Korea has sent the third-largest contingent to Iraq after the United States and Great Britain.
The tragedy of Kim Sun-il, a young Korean worker kidnapped and beheaded by an Islamic militant group, proved this reality.
The Al Qaeda threat, therefore, is nothing new. What is important is that the terrorist leader specifically named South Korea. Twice.
The timing is sensitive because Korean troops in Iraq are getting ready to begin their missions of reconstruction there. It is now absolutely essential to heighten our readiness and stay alert against possible terror attacks.
This goes for all citizens. We must stay alert during our everyday lives to cope with this terror threat, and the government must do its best to prevent any tragedies.
But it is impossible to prevent international terrorist conspiracies independently. The government must cooperate fully with its allies around the world, particularly those fighting against terror, to share intelligence more closely.
Harbors and airports must be monitored and thoroughly secured; U.S. military installations in Korea must be closely protected.
Already, U.S. Forces Korea has put its members and their families, as well as civilian employees and suppliers, under at 9 p.m. curfew.
This is no time to panic ― but the threat must not be downplayed. We cannot root out terrorism with indifference. Caution and readiness are the only way to win this war.