SEOUL, Oct. 29 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s military went on its highest alert of security preparedness this week ahead of the G-20 summit in Seoul to counter any possible disruptions by North Korea or international terrorists, military officials said Friday.
The South Korean military is also working closely with U.S. forces stationed in the South and Japan to monitor movements by the North’s armed forces to ensure safety for the summit set for Nov. 11-12, officials said.
“The alert level has been raised to its highest from Wednesday,” said an official for the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS). “The monitoring of North Korea will remain at the highest level until Nov. 13.”
South Korea, this year’s rotating chair of the G-20, hopes to raise its global profile through the November summit. Security is a top concern for the country technically in a state of conflict with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an uneasy armistice, not a peace treaty.
Since September, the JCS has set up a command center that serves as a central part of security operations with some 10,000 troops from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps taking part.
The command center also coordinates with other security agencies, including the Presidential Security Service, the National Police Agency and the National Intelligence Service, JCS officials said.
Police are mainly in charge of security on streets and at the summit venue in Seoul, while the military provides policing for the skies and seas.
“Using enhanced reconnaissance assets with the U.S., the military is keeping a close eye on activities by North Korean armed forces,” the JCS official said on the condition of anonymity.
The military is conducting drills to cope with possible military provocations by North Korea, including seaborne infiltrations across the tense Yellow Sea border or terror attacks by ultra-light airplanes, the JCS said.
In addition to the military, some 50,000 police officers, including 20,000 riot police, are being mobilized in phases nationwide for the summit.