Seoul has been stepping up security ahead of the Nuclear Security Summit, and enhanced measures are now in place at the summit venue and across the country.
The Nuclear Security Summit will be the largest-ever diplomatic event in Korea with the heads of 53 nations and four international organizations congregating in Seoul.
Including government officials accompanying the heads of states and the media, more than 10,000 people are expected to be present at the COEX exhibition center where the summit will take place.
As such, the vicinity of the COEX has been transformed into a high-security area.
The center is surrounded by three layers of security fences cutting off access to unauthorized personnel.
In addition, as many as 40,000 security personnel will be deployed around the country for the duration of the summit to ensure the highest level of security.
In order to oversee security operations, the summit’s organization committee and the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency each opened a situation room on March 6.
The situation room operated by the organization committee will oversee safety and personal security matters, while the police agency will orchestrate general security operations.
The Seoul police agency’s situation room will have access to the more than 2,000 close circuit cameras in the area. The facility is also equipped to monitor the location of patrol cars and police units deployed in the area.
The National Police Agency raised the emergency order issued earlier in the month, placing all police officers across the country on standby.
The police agency is also collaborating with the prosecutors’ office, National Intelligence Service as well as international organizations including Interpol to maintain security.
While the police agency covers security issues in and around the venue, the military has been maintaining a high level of vigilance for some time.
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 security headquarters established and maintains a “multidimensional” readiness to respond to threats occurring before, during and after the summit.
Under the direction of its chief, Lt. Gen. Shin Hyun-don, the security headquarters has been conducting strategy talks and situational training exercises to hone the military’s ability to suppress and respond to potential threats.
In addition, the military established a special security command in December. With the Capital Defense Command taking the central role, the security command consists of about 10,000 troops from the special forces and reconnaissance units from the three forces.
The military has deployed a number of special command troops to guard key national facilities around Seoul, and has been operating a 24-hour monitoring network that employs military equipment.
The military also raised the information operations condition or INFOCON level in preparation for potential incidents.
In addition to the military and the police, other concerned organizations have taken special measures to bolster security.
From Feb. 9-24, Incheon International Airport 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. In addition to the special training program, the airport conducted a comprehensive anti-terror exercise in February.
By Choi He-suk