March 23, 2012 11:31
South Korean security forces are on full alert as the leaders of the world converge on Seoul for the Nuclear Security Summit that starts Monday. There are concerns that international terrorist groups could target the event.
The government is operating a security command that incorporates elements of the presidential security service, National Police Agency, National Intelligence Service, Defense Ministry, National Emergency Management Agency and Korea Coast Guard. A three-layer security barrier will be erected around the venue, the Convention and Exhibition Center (COEX), and underground entry points will be guarded. Police are to set up road blocks and barriers on the outermost security wall to block protesters.
Police will stop and search suspicious individuals walking around the COEX compound. The presidential security service will set up radiation and metal detectors, x-ray scanners and bomb-sniffer dogs. Only people with access passes will be allowed in.
The military will station snipers armed with live ammunition and high-powered scopes around COEX. Helicopters will provide security from the air, while a new type of patrol boat with underwater monitoring equipment will handle security along the Han River. Anti-aircraft artillery and surface-to-air missiles will also be stationed at strategic points to prevent a 9/11-type attack.
Security forces have gathered profiles of 4,000 terrorist suspects from intelligence agencies around the world and are using that information to screen incoming passengers at airports and harbors. The security level at Incheon International Airport rises to the highest level on Friday and all incoming luggage is being inspected. An official at the security command said, "We have mobilized 40,000 security forces to ensure that there is no gap in our defenses."
Another potential threat is a provocation from North Korea. North Korea's state media has been lambasting the Nuclear Security Summit for weeks and on Wednesday threatened war if the summit issues a "so-called statement" on the North's nuclear program.
Security authorities worry that North Korea could resort to cyber terror or jam GPS signals and communication lines.
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