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Police, military step up security for summit

Seoul is stepping up efforts to provide air-tight security during the Nuclear Security Summit held here next month.

The Nuclear Security Summit will be the largest diplomatic event in Korea with the heads of 53 nations and four international organizations congregating in Seoul.

The military has been leading efforts to prevent threats from arising.

In December, the Joint Chiefs of Staff set up operational headquarters that will oversee security issues during the March 26-27 summit.

The security operations headquarters is responsible for ensuring military readiness to respond to security threats, and for establishing a cooperative network with the police agency and other concerned organizations.

According to the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the aim of the security headquarters is to establish and maintain a “multidimensional” readiness to respond to threats occurring before, during and after the summit.
Police officers demonstrate martial arts at the ceremony marking the launch of the security unit for the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on Feb. 15. (Yonhap News)
Police officers demonstrate martial arts at the ceremony marking the launch of the security unit for the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul on Feb. 15. (Yonhap News)

Under the directions of its chief, Lt. Gen. Shin Hyun-don, the security headquarters is conducting strategy talks and situational training exercises to hone the military’s ability to suppress and respond to potential threats.

While the military focuses its efforts on maintaining heightened defense readiness posture, the police are preparing to provide the highest level of personal security for the participants.

On Feb. 15, the National Police Agency launched a unit that will be responsible for security in and around the summit’s venue, as well as the visiting heads of states’ accommodations.

In addition to the special unit, the police plans to gradually increase their presence near the venue of the summit.

The police agency will also hold a joint anti-terrorism exercise with other concerned organizations and begin operating a situation room at the venue from early March. In addition, the nation’s entire police force will operate under emergency conditions from 20 days before the summit begins.

The military and the police aren’t alone in making preparations for the summit.

From Feb. 9-24, the Incheon International Airport operator has conducted a special training program against terrorism for its 2,000 employees with security-related duties.

The program is designed to improve the airport security staff’s ability to recognize threats and respond to terrorist materials. Aside from the special training program, the airport planned a comprehensive anti-terror exercise for Feb. 19.

“Through the training, which improves Incheon International Airport’s security staff’s abilities, we will support the efforts to host the Nuclear Security Summit safely and successfully,” an Incheon International Airport official said.

By Choi he-suk (cheesuk@heraldcorp.com)
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