South Korea has experienced >30 suspected terrorism-related events since 1958, including attacks against South Korean citizens in foreign countries. The most common types of terrorism used have included bombings, shootings, hijackings, and kidnappings. Prior to 1990, North Korea was responsible for almost all terrorism-related events inside of South Korea, including multiple assassination attempts on its presidents, regular kidnappings of South Korean fisherman, and several high-profile bombings. Since 1990, most of the terrorist attacks against South Korean citizens have occurred abroad and have been related to the emerging worldwide pattern of terrorism by international terrorist organizations or deranged individuals.
The 1988 Seoul Olympic Games provided a major stimulus for South Korea to develop a national emergency response system for terrorism-related events based on the participation of multiple ministries. The 11 September 2001 World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks and the 2001 United States of America (US) anthrax letter attacks prompted South Korea to organize a new national system of emergency response for terrorism-related events. The system is based on five divisions for the response to specific types of terrorist events, involving conventional terrorism, bioterrorism, chemical terrorism, radiological terrorism, and cyber-terrorism. No terrorism-related events occurred during the 2002 World Cup and Asian Games held in South Korea. The emergency management of terrorism-related events in South Korea is adapting to the changing risk of terrorism in the new century.