North Korea still quite frequently makes threats of burning South Korea to ashes. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un once again made defamatory remarks about South Korea, this time in his New Year’s address. But most people in South Korea seem calm against the threats from North Korea, maybe because they are so used to them.
Even though the Ministry of National Defense reported a high probability of military provocation from North Korea in February or March this year, South Koreans do not seem to care about the report, doubting the seriousness of the threat.
The ruthless execution of his uncle-in-law by Kim Jong-un was also major news in the U.S. media. All of the press portrayed Kim as an unpredictable person and warned of potential terrible acts that he might be willing to commit, especially with nuclear weapons in his hands. This has led to calls for a preemptive air strike on North Korea.
By a “preemptive air strike,” they mean striking nuclear weapons facilities in North Korea with a bunker buster, a feared, nearly perfect precision weapon that can fly more than 500 km and penetrate 30 meters underground.
Meanwhile, in South Korea, the scuffles between the KORAIL union and a troop of 6,000 policemen with arrest warrants were widely reported by the foreign press. For a while, the union was fussing about railroad privatization, pledging to defend the railroad for the people, as if privatizing railroads were selling the country.
Frankly, I am concerned about the current situation of South Korea, where everyone is only busy taking care of his or her own interest without any concern about military provocations from North Korea.
In this respect, I am proud of our strong military stationed at the frontline and the confident statement from the minister of national defense that Korean military is ready for any attacks from the North.
But the problem is not in the front, but in the rear. I am afraid of threats on the home front. They are suicide bombings.
Just before the New Year, there were terrible terrorist attacks, a series of suicide bombings that killed dozens of people in Volgograd, Russia. Volgograd is a transportation hub of southern Russia, not far from Sochi, the Black Sea coast city that will host the Winter Olympics next month.
These twin terrorist attacks are thought to have been committed by Chechen and Dagestan Muslim separatist insurgents that have continued their fight against Russia.
Doku Umarov, the leader of Chechen rebels ― the largest Muslim insurgency in the region ― has been showing behavior to increase the rebel group’s presence, such as putting on the Internet a video that urged his followers to prevent Russia and President Putin from holding the Olympics with all their might.
From what I heard, a terrorist attack by suicide bombing is almost impossible to prevent, and it is difficult to investigate who is behind the attack because the terrorists die as well.
After the terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon in April last year made headlines around the world, suicide bombings started to occur more frequently, as if terrorist groups think that suicide bombing is the most effective way to let the world know of their presence.
According to the International Crisis Group, terrorists are usually people that are full of discontent with their society, and it is not easy to distinguish them from the general public.
Furthermore, I am concerned that, around us, there are quite a few people suffering from mental derangement, who are willing to commit suicide if the justification for such an act ― for example, heroism ― in their eyes are given to them.
In addition, Korea ranks the lowest in the happiness index and highest in the suicide rate among OECD members, which sends chills through my spine.
The real identity of a terrorist organization, RO, was revealed not long ago during the investigation of National Assembly lawmaker Lee Seok-ki concerning his conspiracy to foment rebellion.
I hear that the organization is a terrorist group whose members curse South Korea, while worshiping North Korea, and even have practiced bomb-making.
I am worried about the case where some of them are extremists and plan suicide bombings. I am more afraid of this than Kim Jong-un’s threat of military provocations against Korea, and the NIS should keep a close eye on the movements of the RO.
Fortunately, a reform plan for the NIS has finally been passed in the National Assembly after a long political fight. Now the people have no choice but to fully trust that the NIS will do its best in its proper functions such as national defense and especially the prevention of terrorist attacks following its director’s statement of “respecting and humbly accepting the decision of the National Assembly.”
RO members, though small in number, are dangerous people who have lost their minds in trying to destroy our country and give it to the North. Only the people can stop them from doing so by reporting suspicious individuals to the NIS at once. Russia has also been seeking help from its people, offering rewards.
The year of the blue horse has begun. Let’s not forget that South Korea still has more patriots who love our country and begin this year with a resolution that we will defend it.
Jay Kim is a former U.S. congressman. He serves as chairman of the Kim Chang Joon U.S.-Korea Foundation. For more information, visit Kim’s website at http://www.jayckim.com.