In the coming years, the Republic of Korea will be forced to face an unprecedented issue that has rarely been its concern for decades: terrorism. With the impending approach of two popular international sports events, the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017 and the PyongChang Winter Olympics in 2018, South Korea is anticipating foreign threats from its neighbor, North Korea.
As of 2016, the relations between the two brothers have been at a low, with constant threats being thrown back and forth. In November, South Korea announced it would impose new sanctions on its north counterpart and blacklist any entity that supported its production of ballistic and nuclear weapons. A month later, in December, North Korea’s foreign ministry expressed its complete negligence with regards to its threats and declared it will be seeking to conduct its sixth and seventh nuclear test by the end of 2017. However, with the mentioned events approaching, time will only tell how Pyongyang will utilize this opportunity to its advantage.
Therefore, with the ROK anticipating some form of terrorism in the near future while it has its back turned, making efforts to create an inviting environment for athletes and tourists alike, the Prime Minister Hwang Kyo-ahn has released a statement on January 18, 2017.
“Terrorist organizations could plot to carry out acts of terrorism regardless of the time and place even at this moment, and our citizens can also suffer damages at any time, like North Korea’s rear-area operations given that North Korea has repeatedly threatened provocations,” Hwang said during a session of the national counterterrorism panel.
For the purposes of preemptively obstructing any efforts made by individuals from around the world to create havoc and wipe out thousands of people in a single, concentrated area, a number of measures must be implemented. Already, South Korea has announced that starting in April, it will increase the amount of personnel tasked with analyzing the information of inbound air passengers. Yet, in the situation that the security it beefs up does not manage to pinpoint potential terrorists before any damage is done, experts should develop and continue to test existing alert systems that will notify the citizens of any dangers they may be prone to. More importantly, the headquarters of counterterrorist police forces should be temporarily relocated to a more domestic region that may respond to any threats to civilian security swiftly and soundly, while simultaneously simulating security plans for the special day.