While South Korea has a reputation as a racially homogenous country, the growing number of Muslims living in South Korea, currently estimated at over 81,000, reportedly poses a security risk. While migrant workers have not been known to engage in terrorism-related activities, terrorist operatives have been finding it easier to hide among them.
However, Mr. Chung warned that the long-term threat of terrorism against South Korea will not come only from the Middle East. "In the long run, terrorists from Southeast Asia will be more of a threat than those from the Middle East," Mr. Chung said. "I fear them more than I fear those from the Middle East."
Mr. Chung believes that any attack during the APEC meeting might be executed by Southeast Asian organizations such as Jemaah Islamiyah, which was responsible for the Marriott Hotel bombing in Jakarta, Indonesia. "It is easier for them to go in and out of South Korea as they please," he said.
The methods could also differ. Aside from the ground and air attacks witnessed over the past decades, Korean authorities are expecting a serious maritime threat in the form of "floating bombs," — hijacked ships carrying conventional or nuclear bombs that sail into major port cities, such as Busan.
Justifying such a concern is the threat of maritime terrorism, which is worsening in East Asia in places such as the Malacca Strait, which has been home to the majority of the world's piracy.
In the past, pirates have ranged from organized criminals and rebel groups to sailors from the Indonesian and Chinese navies, according to Lee Chun-keun, a maritime expert. In recent years, hijackers have not always sought booty, but demanded hostages to teach them to sail container ships.
Sunday, August 28, 2005