Overly porous security

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Overly porous security

Korea’s national security - in both military and governmental terms - faces a huge crisis. The average citizen can hardly believe a North Korean soldier can defect through the barbed wire fences of the Demilitarized Zone, supposedly one of the most fortified borders in the world. And then a few days later, security of the Central Government Complex was broken with no systems working. No one knew that a man in his 60s possessing flammable liquids broke into the sensitive building in central Seoul on Sunday, penetrating a three-tiered security clearance system, and then set an office of the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology on fire before jumping to his own death.

The building is a critical spot housing major departments of the government, including the Prime Minister’s Office. If the government has such a slack sense of security for that building, terrorists can pretty much choose any target in Korea they wish to hit. We are wondering if the government has been hiding any leaks of top secrets. They couldn’t come as a surprise anymore.

Even though the government admitted to porous security, it doesn’t make sense to blame it on an off day. On Monday, the government announced it took measures to reinforce security by toughening up entry and exit controls, obligating civil servants to wear ID cards, and seeking cooperation with ministries in the building. On the surface, it seemed that departments and agencies of the government have augmented security.

However, our own test showed a different result. Reporters from our national department could easily enter - without proper authorization - those facilities, including another government complex in Gwacheon, Gyeonggi, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office, the National Police Agency, and the Bank of Korea in what amounts to an undeterred penetration.

If the security of government offices hits such a low level even after a shocking attack in the Central Government Complex, we cannot but wonder what is wrong with government workers’ discipline. If outside forces with malicious intentions attempt to attack our pivotal government organizations, we will suffer colossal damage. We urge the government to correct lax public discipline if it does not want to fuel public anxiety even more.

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