Not-so-fortified border

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Not-so-fortified border

Our military has shown that there are some serious loopholes when it comes to border security.

One of our civilians passed the heavily guarded border with North Korea on foot, yet authorities learned of the defection only after hearing the news from Pyongyang’s central news agency. Investigators scurried to the scene, where they discovered that part of the barbed-wire fence had been torn from the southern side of the demilitarized zone.

Every South Korean knows why access to the DMZ and nearby areas is severely restricted, but the latest incident makes us wonder just how strong the security there actually is.

The defector reportedly became acquainted with the area during his two years of military service at the army base on the border.

Still, there are no valid excuses that explain why the military was unaware of his defection until it was reported by the North.

So what exactly is the disciplinary state of the army base at this time?

The investigation into this incident must dig into not only the case itself but also the state of the army base’s management. Those in command must make themselves accountable.

What worries us more is that this isn’t the first incident.

A similar attempt to cross over took place at the central area of the border in 2004, and a North Korean officer crossed the barbed-wire fence the following year. And that’s not all. A little while ago, a boat carrying North Koreans hoping to defect to the South sailed over our sea border and was only noticed by the Navy as it neared land.

Our military guard against the North, it seems, has some significant loopholes, both at sea and on land. An overall examination of our border security, therefore, is necessary if we are truly going to fortify our border.

We have complete faith in our soldiers, who are often shown on TV patrolling and double-checking the border. But now we can’t be so sure about the overall state of security after these incidents. For our military, erosion of public faith could be lethal.

The military must rebuild itself from top to bottom to regain the trust of the people.
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