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Few overseas missions have been properly secured, according to the data submitted by the Foreign Ministry to Rep. Jungwook Hong of the ruling Grand National Party.

Among the 166 offices, 53 were classified as dangerous, lacking sensors or devices to respond to terrorist attacks.

More than half have no basic metal detector, making it possible for people to enter the premises with weapons or explosives.

Also, 24.6 percent of the offices lacked sensors to detect trespassers, according to the data.

Blast-proof protection was absent in 83.3 percent of the missions as were roadblocks in 84.3 percent.

Diplomatic offices are classified into four security levels, defined by the Foreign Ministry, and are obligated to equip themselves with adequate security tools.

The ministry said that many of the offices were still waiting their turn for backup supplies due to budget shortages, but Hong said that the budget was being used randomly.

Hong cited the ministry’s 2010 budget report, which said that 28 of the 53 offices at the highest risk have not received financial or material support.

Also, security supplies had been installed randomly, as relatively safe missions in Switzerland and Canada had automatic sensors whereas those in Afghanistan and Pakistan were not.

“This shows that the ministry does not have a proper database on the security level of its overseas missions,” said Hong. “Offices should first strengthen their internal safety in order to protect Korean nationals overseas.”

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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