Monday, November 8, 2010

KF-16s to escort visiting heads of state

ROK Air Force’s mainstay KF-16

By Jung Sung-ki

The South Korean military has been placed on the highest alert ahead of the G20 Seoul Summit later this week, bolstering its surveillance activities against any possible North Korean provocation.

The Air Force and Navy are ready to support the transport of foreign leaders near key airports, with KF-16 fighter jets expected to escort the planes of the world leaders.

A total of 43 planes carrying foreign leaders will arrive at Incheon International Airport, Kimpo Airport and Seongnam Airport, according to the G20 summit organizers.

Other fighter jets are to be on standby on the ground to conduct surveillance operations should any sign of a terrorist attempt be detected, Air Force officials said.

Ground-to-air missile defense units are also being readied to shoot down enemy targets.

When a VIP vehicle is on the road, the traffic on adjacent routes will be stopped, while armed helicopters hover overhead and gunships will patrol the Han River.

The joint surveillance by the South Korean and U.S. militaries of North Korea has been raised, while troops are on the highest alert over possible North Korea provocation near land and sea borders, according to the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS).

Military forces will also be deployed to airports, venues and main roads for the summit, subway stations and other public facilities in the planned three-fold defense lines, the JCS said.

About 60,000 police and troops will be mobilized as security support for the summit slated for Nov. 11 and 12.

“The G20 summit is a very important event like the 2002 World Cup games,” a JCS officer said. “But we remember that a deadly gun battle occurred in western waters off the Northern Limit Line (NLL) during the World Cup. We should not have a repeat of that kind of tragedy.”

The military is preparing for eight scenarios of North Korean provocation, including an infiltration into the NLL and the Demilitarized Zone, the officer said.

The military is also bracing for terror attacks using improvised explosive devices, poison gas, and cyber attacks, he added.

Local police have also gone on heightened alert ahead of the G20 summit.

Trash cans in stations on subway lines 1 through 4 have been temporarily removed until Nov. 12 to prevent terror attacks, and mail and parcel drop boxes will be temporarily unavailable starting Monday.
Metal detectors are being installed around COEX, the summit venue, to scan cars entering the area. Police refused around 200 applications for rallies near COEX over the next week and have stepped up patrols to quell sudden protests.
Police presence at airports, harbors, power supply stations, water supply facilities and subway and train stations where pedestrian traffic is heavy will be beefed up

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