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[Editorial] N.K. news briefings

Act immediately before publicizing provocations

South Korean citizens are asking their government what it has done about the North’s provocations, apart from the shutdown of the inter-Korean industrial park in Gaeseong. Though economic sanctions, including the U.N.-led move against the communist country, may help to a certain extent, these will not guarantee the security of South Koreans.

On June 7, Cheong Wa Dae’s National Security Office said that the military was fully prepared, stressing that the South’s military would sternly retaliate if North Korea launches a provocation. Its statement came after Pyongyang conducted a fourth nuclear test.

On Feb. 16, President Park Geun-hye commented on the possibility of the Kim Jong-un regime’s collapse. In her special speech delivered at the National Assembly, Park said that Seoul would implement measures to convince Pyongyang that nuclear development “will only bring forward the system’s destruction.”

On Feb. 24, the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, “The military strongly urges North Korea to immediately cease provocations that will lead it to destruction. Should the North take no heed of our warnings and push ahead with further provocations, we will make them regret it with a stern response.”

On March 23, the Ministry of Unification said, “We will never condone North Korea’s threats on President Park and our citizens.”

In addition to the chain of warnings, Seoul has vowed to retaliate against the Kim regime with armed action if necessary, following the North’s provocations via its long or short-range missile tests as well as the nuclear test over the past few months.

Since Thursday, North Korea has been broadcasting signals to jam the global positioning system in South Korea. The Defense Ministry said Friday that the South’s military will make North Korea “pay a due price” if Pyongyang does not suspend its GPS jamming.

The North, as expected, derided the South’s habitual verbal warning, and jammed GPS signals for the fifth consecutive day on Monday.

Regardless of the pros and cons of preemptive military strikes on the North’s territory, it is lamentable that the world’s information technology powerhouse has suffered this sort of provocation from a country whose per capita gross national income stands at $1,217 (1.4 million won).

In response to the GPS jamming, the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning conducted a news briefing, announcing that there had been no reported serious civilian losses, such as in the operation of airplanes and ships.

More and more citizens appear to be growing tired of the statements issued by the presidential office and ministries. Some people say they are certain that the government will continue to repeat its stance of “paying sharp attention” to the situation on the peninsula and how it will not “sit idle” in the face of  future provocations.

Additional verbal retaliation is no longer enough in the public’s eye. Instead, carry out counterattacks immediately after provocations such as GPS disruptions.

There is no reason for the military to prioritize notifying citizens of the North’s challenges as quickly as possible.

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