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(LEAD) Marine Corps to help guard naval bases in wake of security breaches

All News 15:17 April 17, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 5 paras, photo)
By Oh Seok-min

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry announced a series of measures to beef up the security of military bases in the wake of embarrassing civilian intrusions, including improving CCTVs and other surveillance systems and mobilizing Marine Corps troops to help guard naval bases.

The ministry unveiled these measures after Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo held a videoconference with around 30 top military commanders to discuss how to prevent any recurrence of such security breaches.

The Marine Corps will be mobilized to support the Navy with its missions of protecting major naval bases across the country, and Army liaison officers will be given greater roles regarding those security operations, according to the ministry.

The military authorities have been grappling with ways to better protect naval bases, which usually involve vast coastal lines, particularly after two civic activists cut barbed wire fences and intruded into a naval compound on the southern island of Jeju last month.

"Such measures were made after close coordination between the branches, and they will be implemented on a temporary basis until the authorities make fundamental measures for the protection of naval bases," the ministry said in a release.

The authorities also vowed to replace old CCTVs and decrepit or weak fences surrounding military bases within this year and to strengthen the training of personnel in charge of managing such equipment and facilities.

As a mid- to longer-term goal, advanced technology-based guard systems, such as those installed along the border with North Korea, will be implemented for the defense of military bases deemed vulnerable to outside infiltrations, according to the ministry.

The military also vowed to seek tougher punishment of intruders and campaigns to raise public awareness.

"Now is the time to make every effort to ensure a staunch readiness posture and tighter discipline so as to regain public trust," Jeong told the commanders.

In the latest known security breach, a man in his 70s was caught and later released without being referred to police after intruding into an education center for military intelligence officers earlier this month.

In March, the authorities belatedly disclosed a case that happened on Jan. 3 in which a man with a mental illness got into the Jinhae Naval Command in the southeastern city of Changwon without being stopped.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeog-doo (L) presides over a meeting of top commanders to discuss measures to prevent civilian intrusions into military bases in Seoul on April 17, 2020, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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