President to hold meeting with top brass over military reform

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 27, 2018 - 09:22
  • Updated : Jul 27, 2018 - 09:22

President Moon Jae-in will hold a meeting with top military officials Friday to discuss ways to reform the military, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said, amid controversy over the military's plan to invoke martial law during anti-government protests in 2016.

The meeting was set to be held at Cheong Wa Dae, involving all top commanders of the country's armed forces, including the Marine Corps., according to Cheong Wa Dae.

The meeting is partly aimed at discussing military reform measures, Cheong Wa Dae officials said earlier, noting the top commanders' meeting is usually chaired by the defense minister.

Military reform is one of Moon's key policy initiatives.


President Moon has repeatedly called for efforts to eradicate what he called deep-rooted corruption in the military and the defense industry since taking office in May 2017.

However, Friday's meeting also follows a recent controversy over a 2016 proposal from the Defense Security Command (DSC) to invoke martial law during the months of protests against then-President Park Geun-hye.

Related documents disclosed earlier by Cheong Wa Dae showed that the DSC had even proposed taking control of the parliament by arresting then-opposition lawmakers, prompting suspicions over a possible coup attempt.

The meeting also comes amid a dispute between Defense Minister Song Young-moo and the DSC, which claims the defense chief had determined its martial law proposal was within its legal boundaries, leading to its failure to submit or disclose related documents.

Song has flatly denied the claim, only stopping short of accusing the DSC of a mutiny.

In his latest instruction regarding the martial law proposal, President Moon on Thursday said anyone responsible for any wrongdoing or mistakes will be asked to answer. He earlier ordered the launch of an independent investigation into the martial law proposal. He has also ordered the military and the defense ministry to submit all their related documents.

Still, the president said finding who is at fault could wait.

"The key issue is to reveal the truth about the martial law documents. We must thoroughly identify why (the military) created such documents and how far it was willing to execute the plan,"

Moon said, according to Cheong Wa Dae spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

He also stressed the need to reform the DSC, the most powerful military intelligence unit.

"The need to reform the DSC has become greater," the Cheong Wa Dae spokesman quoted Moon as saying. "I ask the task force on the DSC reform to speed up its discussions and submit a reform proposal at an early date." (Yonhap)