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“Korea is Also a Strong Target for Terrorism”

Posted March. 17, 2004 22:19,   


Prime Minister Goh Kun, who is concurrently assuming the role of acting president, on March 17 strongly pointed out, “As the countries recently being targeted by terrorist attacks have sent their troops to Iraq, we should raise an alarm against terror. We will summon the Terrorism Countermeasure Committee and consider a counterplan.”

At the executive meetings of the Prime Minister Office (PMO), Goh ordered this in accordance with the Spanish terror attack which is assumed to have involved Al-Qaeda, stated Kim Deok-bong, the chief secretary official of PMO.

Initially, the government had scheduled to hold the terrorism committee next week, but after the working-level talk on this day, in which the relevant agencies such as the National Security Council (NSC), the National Intelligence Service (NIS), and the police participated, it decided to hold the general meeting on March 18 according to Goh’s indication.

“We will organize a close network of cooperation between the related agencies in the respect of exchanging terror information,” remarked Goh, adding, “Special vigilance will be done on mass transportation such as the rapid-train system which is scheduled to open next month.”

Although Goh pointed out twice at executive meetings of PMO and State Council on March 15 and 16 respectively regarding the preparations for the countermeasures of terrorism, he indicated to “hold the meeting this afternoon,” when he was briefed that the meeting was scheduled for next week.

Such a swift movement by Goh is assessed to be him regarding any contingency occurring in this sensitive moment of political disorder as having great importance which can not only harm some people, but also make the entire country fall into a security crisis and a state of apathy.

In addition, some experts reckon that Goh, who has been briefed by the National Intelligence Service and NSC since March 13, seems to have realized the seriousness of the case.

“There is still no significant movement of terrorism that is targeting us,” remarked a NSC official, adding, “However, considering the Spanish incident which occurred just before the congressional election, we have to prepare for it because of the upcoming general election in April.”

“We have long shared the information about terrorism with the U.S. However, we will reinforce it from now on,” remarked a relevant governmental official, adding, “As the Spanish terror incident has made a great impact on the world and has influenced the U.S. presidential election and the future course of Iraq, the government is also closely observing the status quo.”

Jung-Hun Kim Seung-Ryun Kim jnghn@donga.com srkim@donga.com