Yoon tells NIS to show capability to 'neutralize' N.K. provocations
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Feb. 24 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk Yeol visited the National Intelligence Service (NIS) headquarters Friday and called on the agency to demonstrate its capability to "neutralize" the North Korean regime's miscalculations and provocations, his office said.
Yoon made the remark while receiving a 2023 policy briefing from NIS Director Kim Kyou-hyun and other senior agency officials.
"The reality of the security situation on the divided Korean Peninsula is grave, and the uncertainty in international affairs is growing," he was quoted as saying. "I would like you to demonstrate the capability to neutralize the North Korean regime's miscalculations and provocations, and boldly compete in the global information warfare."
Yoon was briefed on the NIS' overall work, including on overseas and North Korea intelligence, counterespionage, counterterrorism and cybersecurity operations, and urged the agency to perfectly carry out its role as the state's top intelligence agency responsible for defending national security and the people's freedom, his office said.
"The reason for existence of the organization called the National Intelligence Service -- in other words, its fundamental duty -- is to defend our freedom," he said, adding that its employees must have a different attitude to their work than other public servants.
"Just as a large dike collapses from a small ant tunnel, we must not allow the slightest crack in defending national security," he said.
Yoon urged the NIS to work closely with the private and public sectors and the military to strengthen their cyber capabilities, and actively apply advanced technologies to analyzing North Korea, overseas and counterespionage intelligence.
"There must be endless research, education and training to collect scientific information and effectively conduct work," he said. "Only then will the NIS' competitiveness be enhanced, and when it becomes a competent and strong intelligence agency will it be possible to have in-depth cooperation with our allies and partner nations."
Yoon also quoted Gina Haspel, the first woman to be appointed director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in 2018, as saying her life as an intelligence agent was not simply a "career" but a "calling."
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