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20s Show Fragile Awareness of National Security

   
 
  ▲ “Innisfree” ranked top on the searching word list of Naver instead of the nuclear test or North Korea after North Korea had a nuclear test on February 12th.  
 

A spy from North Korea was caught by the National Intelligence Service last January. Allegedly the spy is Chinese, who only studied in North Korea, but he deceived authorities as a North Korean defector in South Korea. He worked as a contract service officer and while working he handed over important information about real North Korean defectors and South Korea. According to one news report, North Korea has learned all of the test questions that the National Intelligence Service asks to check if one is spy or not. This is not the first time South Korea has faced dangerous situations. In another case in 2009 a former army noncommissioned officer met someone who might be labeled as a gold digger from North Korea. He heard that he could be wealthy if he were to go to North Korea, so he went there and informed North Koreans about the South Korean army. He was later caught in 2012. These two situations show that South Korean security is in a precarious condition. In these dangerous times, North Korea held a nuclear test on February 12th. At this time, “Innisfree” and “Jessica” ranked as the top search words of Naver instead of the nuclear test or North Korea. Why is there not more awareness of our national security? National security could be defined as “Having a perception of danger that comes from both inside and outside of country. Thinking about potential danger and trying to participate actively to maintain security.” How many 20s would have the awareness of national security? The Post sought to determine how many people in their 20s have an accurate awareness of our national security.

Over 100 students were surveyed about their awareness of national security for three days from January 11th ~13th. There were two questions asked. The first question was, “How much fear do you feel when you hear about North Korea’s nuclear aspirations, weapons and missiles?” Only 15% said “very strong.” 42% replied “so so” and 43% chose “little” for the first question. The second question was, “Do you know who to call, contact, or report to in an emergency related to North Korea?” 73% said they “don’t know who to call.” The Post sat down with a student, majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, to learn about her awareness of national security. She said, “I know the situation is dangerous but it is unimpressive. Also, a sentence, “Since nuclear tests are common news subjects, I do not feel anything,” was uploaded to the D-yeon website. A senior research fellow, Jeung Young-tae, who works for KINU (Korea Institute of National Unification), says that being unimpressed because something is common can bring about serious situations and is very dangerous. This is not just a problem for those in their 20s’ but a national problem, he added.

A lack of education of the awareness of national security is one of the main reasons for concern. While there is no shortage of sex education and safety & health education, there is only a small amount of time dedicated to enhancing students’ awareness of security in our curriculum. Teenagers become twenty year olds without their consciousness rising.

Another reason is improper publicity activities through the media and public service campaigns. An example of a publicity activity through the media could be the musical “The Promise.” Public service advertisements can be seen in the subway and at CGV theaters. The problem is that these activities only show how much soldiers are trying to protect Korea instead of teaching about the danger of wars.

The government also likes to hide problems. When something happens the government does not report the whole story. For instance, last year there was a North Korean soldier who crossed the ceasefire line and walked toward South Korea’s guard gate where he was able to knock at the gate door. However, the truth was clouded and moreover, the CCTV recording of what actually happened was nowhere to be found. This kind of thing has happened many times. There was a similar occurrence in 2008.

The government also has little interest in making programs that can enhance the public consciousness. They started to make programs after 2010, the year of the Cheonan incident and the incident on Yeonpyeong Island. The Ministry of National Defense included the “soldier” job in Job World and made programs such as a national security experience event, photo exhibition and battlefront experience event. However, this is still insufficient and more advertising is needed. A senior research fellow Jeung Young-tae said, “Although Korea is a developed country, we have fragile awareness of our national security. This is because Korea had created an atmosphere that there is no need to be interested and avoided North Korea’s real truths. Until the 1990s, there were many programs that could enhance consciousness. But after the passing of time the numbers of programs have decreased. The government should be concerned and conduct seminars so they can make these programs again. For example, they should make students visit the Korean War’s ferocious battlefield, the observatory related to North Korea near the truce line and the underground tunnel as obligatory programs,” said Koo Bon-hak, professor at Hallym Universiy of Graduate Studies. In post-World WarⅡ Germany these kinds of programs were offered. Before the unification of Germany, West Germany was very open to every truth about East Germany, so West German people could understand the thinking of East Germans and how dangerous they were. In Israel also, high school students should visit some places such as Wailing Wall and Masada Castle. These are obligatory. Also, in the U.S., people stop to remember the 911 terror victims.

These days Korea faces extremely dangerous threats. Koreans have fragile awareness of their national security. People in their twenties today, will soon lead this country and they must fix their perception and enhance their awareness. Other countries do this. There is no good reason why Korea should not adopt some programs from other countries and break away from this current state of sluggish consciousness.

< TIps for Twenties>
To report a suspect of espionage: Call 111(National Intelligence Service) or 1337(Defense Security Command), Visit www.111.go.kr(National Intelligence Service Call Center), www.epeople.go.kr(Internet Sinmungo).
Refuge: Check on www.safekorea.go.kr and click menu, “Civil Defense.”
In Dongguk University’s case, Chungmuro Station platform, subway line No. 3 is the closest refuge.

Kim Ji-yeon  tj703@dongguk.edu

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