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`We Are Confused about Eulji Drill` Say Gov`t Officials

Posted August. 23, 2001 09:53,   


``As war broke out at 4:00 am on Wednesday, martial law was proclaimed. Take proper measure according to the situation…``

A fax, which reported such an urgent situation, was sent to a ward office in Seoul Wednesday morning. However, the government officials who were wearing drill uniforms with beige color looked rather uninterested in the drill. A government official was preparing documents for the inspection of the government offices, which was scheduled earlier than usual. Some officials were observed in computer game, while eating snacks. ``We are not tense because North Korea`s attack doesn’t sound realistic. While [some people] are desperately waiting for the return visit of Kim Jong-Il, the North Korea`s National Defense Commission Chairman, the government officials are ordered to have a drill, perceiving North Korea as an imaginary enemy…``

A war drill in preparation for wartime, which began on Monday for six-day schedule, has lost interest. Under the influence of the sunshine policy and the appeasement policy on North Korea since the 6.15 South-North summit talk, the government officials are not stringent about the drill. The government officials say that perceiving North Korea as a major enemy is a logical conclusion of the military side.

Although ministers hold an evaluation meeting every morning in which the last night`s situation is reported, the government officials often do not attend the meeting. Although minister`s office and vice minister`s office for drill are prepared in one central ministry, both minister and vice minister have never stopped by since the beginning of the drill.

A high ranking official of the Kwhachun government building, who is responsible for taking proper measures against spies, said that some have voiced the government should imagine massive situations, such as lack of jobs, which will occur in the unified nation since the concept of spy itself is confusing.

Although the government officials are supposed to stand by for 24 hours once they enter the emergency bunker, most of them spend the time doing nothing. Moreover, some of officials were reported to have returned home earlier.

During the Eulji drill, the government officials feel confused about the view on North Korea in relation to the investigation on the violation of the law by some of the South Korean delegates who participated in the Pyongyang 8.15 Grand Festival of the National Reunification.

A high ranking official at the central government building said that while President makes a defending statement for Kim Jong-Il along with enormous material aids, the prosecution is probably anguished about how to handle the delegates who were involved in the Mangyongdae visitor`s note incident and the opening and closing ceremony in Pyongyang.

Secretary `Kim` said that despite the different opinions between the prosecution and the ministry of Unification, the government officials were critical of the approval of the visit to North. Kim also said that while the appeasement policy on North Korea is good, it is confusing as to what is allowed and what is not allowed.

There is even an internal criticism as to whether the drill itself is problematic since a mischievous writing entitled `our nation`s map drawn by the Korean national anthem` was posted at the Seoul City homepage during the Eulji drill.

The Eulji drill consists of an exercise in which civilian, government, and military administer together during wartime at the government level, and the ROK-U.S. command post exercise (CPX) which repulses the enemy according to the 5027 operation plan. Under the imagined war situation, the civilian government officials take administration related exercises in written format to aid the war from the sidelines, such as minimizing damages by evacuating civilians and mobilizing the supplies.

Lee Jin-Yeong ecolee@donga.com