Safeguard against the North

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Safeguard against the North

Domestic and international airplanes have been experiencing GPS signal disturbance during their flights over the capital area for nearly one week. According to the Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs, a total of 337 flights - including one by a foreign military plane - reported GPS problems for six days in a row until yesterday.

Yet the ministry says that there was no problem for their flights as aircraft can still fly normally by activating an inertial navigation system when the GPS signal disturbance occurs. However, we should not make light of the disturbance, as it could lead to a massive disaster anytime backup navigation systems do not function properly. On average, about 1,200 flights take off and land at several airports, including the Incheon International Airport, in the Seoul area everyday.

The Korea Communications Commission says that the disturbing signals were most likely transmitted from the Kaesong area in North Korea after meticulously tracing the origin of the jamming signals. Based on that, the Ministry of National Defense puts more weight on the possibility that Pyongyang transmitted the jamming signal on purpose.

North Korea warned Seoul last week that a special operation unit under the Supreme Headquarters of the People’s Army will soon launch a revolutionary action in order to wreak havoc on South Korean society through unique and unprecedented methods.

Our military intelligence authority came up with an explanation that the GPS signal disturbance of a multitude of aircraft could be part of the special action North Korea threatened to kick off.

North Korea’s GPS jamming over our capital area is not new, as we already experienced a similar disturbance during the annual Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise in 2010 and the Key Resolve drill last year. As such, it may be too early to believe that this is the beginning of the revolutionary provocation the North threatened to launch.

Still, we cannot lower our guards, particularly considering the dire possibility that North Korea may eventually resort to an unrivaled surprise attack against our mass transit systems - including subways or railroads across the country - or our utilities like electricity, gas and water, and sewage systems. The government must be able to reassure the public through a thorough preparation and impeccable response under any circumstance.

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