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Lee Gov`t Lacks Its Own Contingency Manual

Posted September. 29, 2008 09:12,   


The Lee administration has yet to adopt its own emergency manual for contingencies, and has used the one from the former administration over its seven months in office.

In a phone interview with The Dong-a Ilbo yesterday, ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Hong Jung-wook said, “After reading two types of emergency manuals for Koreans living abroad and overseas terrorism at the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry, I discovered that the government has yet to lay down the right principles in tackling national emergencies.”

“The manuals still included the now-defunct National Security Council in their reporting hierarchy.”

The ministry’s emergency manual for Koreans living abroad was designed in 2005 under the Roh Moo-hyun administration, and has gotten no updates under the Lee administration.

After a South Korean tourist was shot down by a North Korean soldier at Mount Geumgang in July, Seoul announced plans to launch a national “crisis situation” center at the end of July amid criticism over its initial reaction to the killing. The incident was reported to President Lee Myung-bak two hours afterwards.

On the government’s alleged lax response to emergencies, Hong said, “There is a lack of personnel that can exclusively deal with emergencies due to downsizing at the presidential office. The government has also failed to recognize the urgency of setting down principles for tackling emergencies.”

“Though the administration ordered the foreign, unification and defense ministries to craft manuals, authorities told me that progress was slow since the government failed to give clear guidelines in the first place.”

Hong also said a government official told him that he heard news of the shooting reached President Lee two hours after Hyundai Asan broke the news, adding the official expected such a slow response given the government’s lack of preparation against emergencies.