[EDITORIALS]Wire cutters and complacencyAfter three holes were found in the wire fence on the inter-Korean border, the military and the police were put on high alert. The Defense Ministry announced that it was highly likely that an unidentified man cut the fence from the southern side to cross over to the North. The traces of cuts in the fence and footsteps indicated that it was made from the southern side. However, the military authorities should investigate the incident thoroughly, as there are still suspicious points.
Regardless from which side the infiltration was tried, the incident showed the shortcomings of South Korean military’s alertness. If they were not aware that someone crossed the border from the South, they might also be unaware if armed North Korean agents did the same. It startles us to know that the border frontline was patrolled with such laxity.
The military said that the perpetrator could have been a South Korean, judging from the skill used in cutting wires. However, all possibilities, including infiltration of armed North Korean agents as well as the return to the North of a North Korean spy who had been active in the South, should be taken into consideration. Especially, there is an analysis in the military that it could be related to the intrusion of a North Korean submarine in the East Sea 15 days ago. A spy, learning that his plan to board the submarine had gone wrong, perhaps cut the fence and returned to the North, the military suggested. Without failing such possibility, the military must lay bare everything about this incident. At the same time, it must establish a water-tight security posture by firming up the weak points exposed in this incident.
Our society is generally less concerned these days about North Korea; we are even discussing abolishing the National Security Law. The people seem to believe that they are living in a peaceful country. Such wrongful perceptions might have reached inside the military, even to those guarding the front lines. That is really a cause for grave concern. Notwithstanding the political turmoil, the military is the last fortress to defend our nation’s security.
If this incident is related to the North, it is not a simple matter. It shows that the North has not given up plots to infiltrate the South to trigger disturbances. We must learn that inter-Korean exchanges and cooperation are separate matters from defending our security.