Posted August. 10, 2012 21:44,
The military conducted a thorough security operation in the East Sea Friday in the wake of a surprise visit to the country`s easternmost islets of Dokdo by President Lee Myung-bak.
While the Presidential Security Service is in charge of ensuring the presidents personal protection, the military also provided air, ground and naval security service when he visited the islets, which are being claimed by Japan. President Lee was the first Korean commander-in-chief to visit the islets on a presidential airplane and helicopters.
The military began its security operation when an Air Force plane with the president on board took off from Seoul Airport in Seongnam, Gyeonggi Province. A fleet of KF-16 fighter jets on stand-by near the airport protected the president until the presidential airplane flew 50 minutes and arrived at Gangneung Airport.
At the same time, the First Master Control and Reporting Center in Osan and Daegu increased the number of monitoring personnel on duty to track the presidential plane in real time and helping strengthen the surveillance posture on the frontline area and airspace above the Korean Peninsula.
As the president boarded a helicopter in Gangneung and took off for Ulleung Island and Dokdo, F-15K fighter jets conducted patrol flights near the chopper. Military pilots were on alert while retaining communication with ground control bases to provide data on the helicopters flight situation.
Peace, an airborne early warning and control plane, was also used in the operation. Dubbed a command post in air, the Peace Eye tracks every airplane and ship above or on Korean territorial waters, providing real-time information for the military and the presidents security service body throughout the flight.
The Peace Eye has a state-of-the-art radar system capable of simultaneously detecting more than 1,000 targets above the peninsula or in its waters. Capable of covering a radius of more than 500 kilometers, the equipment can also monitor situations in neighboring countries.
The Navy also did its part by deploying 4,500-ton destroyers and 1,200-ton patrol vessels in the East Sea before the presidents flight took off from Seoul. In addition, other naval vessels in Korean waters were deployed in case of emergency.
Submarines operating in the East Sea also strengthened their alert posture.
In addition, the Army also remained on high alert until the president returned to his office in Seoul, saying, We can discuss it in detail but we stayed at a higher alert than usual.
Reportedly, military authorities prepared for the possibility that Japanese maritime police or Self-Defense Force would send vessels or aircraft near Dokdo. Japan has sent a patrol ship near the islets every year.
In 2005, a patrol aircraft of Japans Air Self-Defense Forces approached 64 kilometers from Dokdo before returning to Japan after the Korean military issued a warning.
We cannot rule out the possibility that Japan will send aircraft or ships near Dokdo out of its resentment over President Lees Dokdo visit, an official at Seouls Joint Chiefs of Staff said. We`re closely watching for any such move.