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[Opinion] The Expert Archer

Posted October. 31, 2003 23:02,   


“Hero” (directed by Chang Emou), a chivalry movie released last year, is the story of the assassinator that eyes the life of Emperor Si of the Jin dynasty from ancient China.

The most impressive symbol in this movie was the imperial troops armed with a bow and a crossbow. The archers, standing in a row, shoot arrows, just like a big wave trying to swallow a ship. It was unbelievably powerful which contrasted to what I had thought of ancient fighting technology, which would have been barbarous. The crossbow, “flying more powerfully to attack the enemies, outside of 600 paces,” was said to be used by the Chinese armed forces for the first time in the world.

When it comes to archery, Koreans are better than the Chinese. Many stories related to archery have been passed down that in the ancient times, the Chinese marveled at Korean’s arrow shooting prowess, using a big bow and referring to Koreans as “very good archers.” The name, Chumong, the father of Kokuryo, an ancient country in the Han peninsula, was also originated from the old word “Sunsaja,” meaning a good archer. The custom of shooting a bow in the old times continued on to the Chosun dynasty. Even the king, civil officials, warriors, and the common people also enjoyed archery. It was also put to the use during examinations such as manpower selection test. The 22nd king, Jungjo (1752~1800) of the Chosun dynasty even left this saying, “The reason why I did not get perfect results in the recent archery tournament is that I don’t want to scare the others.” It seems that he was a heavenly gifted archer.

Agency for Defense Development (ADD) gave a name of “Divine Archer” to the newly decked out portable ground-to-air missile in Korea. It appears that the missile will perform its function well, because during practice firing, the missile had over 90% accuracy. In Korea, the defending forces have to take care of a sudden air strike by enemy forces, since the type of terrain in Korea is unique, with the distance between the rear to the frontier being very short. The French “Mistral” is heavier than the “Divine Archer,” and the American ”Stinger” has less accurate targeting ability. I am really proud to have our own missile to substitute for foreign missiles and with more powerful efficiency.

ADD was founded by the former president, Park Jung-hee, in the 1970s, who stood up for the independent defense of the country. Ground-to-ground missiles, ”Baekgom” and “Hyunmoo,” customized the combat tank ”K1A1,” armored infantry carrier, “K200,” and the short distance guided ground-to-air missile system “Chunma” are the popular masterpieces of ADD. Once, when ADD was entirely covered up in secrets, there was a saying”Even the number of ball pens at ADD is confidential” which spread around the country. But, it does not matter if it satisfies the people by developing a new weapon like the “Divine Archer.” If the light in the laboratories is not turned off, the dream of independent national defense will be closer to our hope.

Comments by Song Moon-hong, editorialist