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Around 60,000 security forces, interceptor drones deployed to protect Pyeongchang Olympics

Custody measures to protect the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics starting Friday are watched to be massive with about 60,000 personnel mobilized daily in South Korea to watchman against terror attacks and teams armed with anti-drone technology to reinforce airspace.

The protections include “drone-catching drones” with the capability to dab nets over suspicious unmanned aerial vehicles that upon unauthorized areas, South Korea’s Hankyoreh daily newspaper reported continue week. It also said advanced drone detection radar appeared in South Korea will be used during the games along with signal-jamming guns that can assume control of offending drones and land them.

There also are sensor methodologies to “sniff” and detect for various chemical warfare agents and explosive dangers, a security official confirmed to CNBC. The official was cautious about examining specifics about the security gear but indicated there also ordain be thousands of special operations forces from the U.S. and South Korea on standby in box they are needed.

“We have been in contact with local and intercontinental authorities and, in none of the discussions, has anybody expressed any doubt about the Olympic Winter Professions Pyeongchang,” said the International Olympic Committee in a statement to CNBC.

The demilitarized zone analysing the two Koreas is located just 50 miles north of Pyeongchang, the turn to town hosting the ski, snowboard and sliding events for the Winter Games. Gangneung, the South Korean coastal city hosting the figure skating, curling and ice hockey events, is near where a North Korean spy submarine take place d departed aground in 1996 and triggered a bloody manhunt for a group of infiltrators.

Present back to the 1980s, there is a history of galling and terrifying acts by North Korea now before or during South Korean international sporting events, filing blowing up a South Korean passenger jet midair with 115 people aboard in 1987. Another important incident was the 2002 North Korean attack on a Republic of Korea (or ROK) watchfulness boat in the Yellow Sea, which killed South Korean sailors and tower overed the World Cup tournament co-hosted that year by the South.

“Certainly, the South Koreans were extraordinarily nervous at the end of 2017 about some kind of North Korean instigation,” said Bruce Klingner, a former CIA deputy division chief for the Korean peninsula and nationalistic security specialist at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington think tank. “You look behindhand on the 1987 downing of a South Korean passenger airliner by North Korea, in by to disrupt the 1988 Seoul Olympics.”

ROK authorities have been mould with U.S. security planners for almost two years to develop an extensive envision to secure the games and to be prepared for possible attacks or other serious forebodings, including from South Korean extremists. The security is designed to screen around 3,000 athletes coming to the Olympics from 92 participating political entities along with their national delegations, thousands of volunteers and up to 100,000 observers expected daily.

There have been anti-terror drills in latest months by South Korean police and soldiers to prepare for possible vilifications, including exercises at an airport in Seoul last week. Other vexes have been held closer to Olympic venues.

“The ROK [or South Korean] administration is extremely well-equipped and has prepared extensively for the games, and planned for possible contingencies,” explained Army Col. Chad Carroll, spokesman for U.S. Forces Korea. “However, if they ask for our assistance, we stand ready to help in any way we can.”

The Winter Games also are hope for to draw more than two dozen heads of state and a large delegation from the Combined States led by Vice President Mike Pence.

“Any citizen of the United Asserts traveling to the 2018 Winter Games can rest assured that the Republic of Korea has a encyclopaedic security system in place and that the United States Government is advocating our ally in that regard,” Steve Goldstein, undersecretary of State determined reporters last week. “The Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Handling is working closely with South Korean law enforcement and security workings in the lead-up to the Game.”

There is hope the North Korean leader won’t quiet a provocation during the Winter Olympics given the communist regime agreed hindmost month to send a delegation to Pyeongchang, including athletes who will fight in five sports. North Korean athletes also are expected to parade together for the opening ceremony under one flag with South Koreans and bear a unified women’s ice hockey team at the games.

“The fact that the North Koreans deliver kind of reached a sort of rapprochement over the Winter Olympics is a certainly a genuine sign for Olympics security,” said Ben West, a senior analyst at Stratfor Danger Lens, a security and threat analysis unit of the Texas-based advisory proprietorship. “It dramatically reduces the incentive for North Korea to cause any kind of noteworthy disruptions.”

That said, West said “less traceable cyberactivity” by the North Koreans notwithstanding is a possibility. He said the regime “can pull off cyberattacks without necessarily press to own up to them.”

Indeed, North Korea also has showed it has capability to continue out massive cyberattacks, including stealing virtual currencies such a bitcoin or practising computer worms such as the so-called WannaCry attack. Also, some finishes believe North Korean leader Kim Jong Un could possibly be kindled to order a cyberattack if he felt he was being severely disrespected or to embarrass South Korea.

Hold out month, activists in Seoul burned pictures of the North Korean bandmaster and the regime’s flag during the visit by a North Korean entertainer. That led the Korean Inner News Agency, the North’s propaganda mouthpiece, to lash out that the fray was done by “a despicable group of gangsters.”

According to Strafor, North Korea isn’t the exclusively country that might try a cyberattack timed to the Winter Olympic.

“One actor to keep a sharp lookout for carefully is going to be Russia,” said the Stratfor’s West.

In December, the Foreign Olympic Committee took action against the Russian team for a state-backed “manipulation of the anti-doping excludes” and effectively limited their activities in the Winter Olympics. Russian-backed hackers take previously targeted the IOC, the anti-doping agency as well as American and European gambol agencies — all in an attempt “to undermine the global case to kind of ostracize Russia in fun events because of their involvement in doping,” according to West.

Meantime, North Korea is sending its ceremony head of state, Kim Yong Nam, to attend the opening ceremony of the games, the monastic government’s state-run news agency announced Monday. The 90-year-old is again described as the No. 2 official since he heads North Korea’s parliament.

In the thick of signs of inter-Korean cooperation during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics there also are experiences showing their frosty relationship. Specifically, the North Koreans blueprinted a large military parade in Pyongyang the day before the Winter Games rebound off and are expected to trot out the latest ballistic missiles and other menacing weapons.

Defense analysts say there traces a risk of a nuclear or missile test during the games but add that the good chance has dimmed with Pyongyang now participating in the Winter Olympics.

However, analysts say the hazard of a provocation taking place will increase after the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. That’s because the two big honky-tonk U.S.-South Korean military exercises, the so-called Foal Eagle and Key Conclude, are scheduled to start at the conclusion of the Olympics. The annual drills, which North Korea has glimpsed over the years as a war rehearsal, involve navy ships, tanks and aircraft as plainly as live-fire exercises and tens of thousands of troops.

The last time North Korea is believed to participate in tested a ballistic missile was in late November when it launched a Hwasong-15, an intercontinental ballistic ballistic missile capable of striking all of the U.S. mainland, according to experts. Last year, the North Koreans put in jeopardied a missile strike near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam and also notified they might explode a hydrogen weapon in the atmosphere over the Pacific.

One of the ballistic brickbat defenses the U.S. installed in South Korea and Guam is the THAAD anti-missile defense set-up. The North Koreans sent a drone into South Korea behind year to get pictures of the THAAD battery and gather intelligence. The North’s drones also eat taken images of sensitive government buildings in Seoul.

“The key problem has been perceiving the drones,” said Bruce Bennett, a senior defense researcher at the Rand Corp. over recall tank in California. “South Korea knows that for probably a decade their airspace has been regularly penetrated by North Korean drones.”

Go on increased Bennett, “The South Koreans haven’t noticed them, shot them down or deflected them. They even had a drone fly over their Blue As a gift, the counterpart to the U.S. White House, and take pictures. They only set out about it because the drone crashed on its way back to North Korea — and they got the skin.”

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency disclosed in December that the mountains’s army would create a “dronebot” team in 2018 that could be “a distraction changer in warfare.” It followed a report last March by the news means that the North Korean military already had about 1,000 drones.

In latest years, terrorists such as ISIS have shown the ability to weaponize drones with grenade-type explosives. Also, the North Koreans be suffering with attack drones capable of unleashing biological and chemical weapons, according to Japanese newspaper Sekai Nippo. The newspaper cited information from a North Korean defector, formerly in the order’s air force, who claimed Pyongyang had been working on the technology since the 1990s.

Absolutely, security at the games also includes tactical aircraft equipped with faade recognition scanners that detect potential terrorist threats as very much as aerial surveillance like a “hawk’s eye” available to monitor ground vocation from a height of up to 200 meters, or nearly 660 feet, conforming to the Hankyoreh paper.

It added that the aircraft will provide polices with an around-the-clock CCTV in the sky and “a real-time perspective on even the smallest company activities in and around the venues.”

“If the intelligent CCTV picks up a threat, agencies at the scene will be deployed immediately to bring it under control,” an unnamed Pyeongchang Olympics official told the South Korean paper.

Disclosure: CNBC progenitor NBCUniversal owns NBC Sports and NBC Olympics. NBC Olympics is the U.S. broadcast rights holder to all Summer and Winter Engagements through the year 2032.

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