The call came at a weekly Cabinet meeting, in which the government approved the disbandment of the Defense Security Command, a military intelligence unit that made a controversial proposal in late 2016 to invoke martial law against anti-government protests that called for the ouster of then President Park Geun-hye.
"I have never used the DSC for political reasons, and I have never even held a private meeting with the DSC commander since my inauguration," President Moon said. "But I believe it is important to institutionalize (the ban on the DSC's political involvement) instead of just leaving it to the goodwill of the president."
The move to disband the military spy unit came amid an ongoing investigation by an independence counsel into the controversial martial law proposal.
Moon insisted the proposal itself constituted a serious betrayal of the people even if the proposal is found to have been legitimate.
"Regardless of whether it constitutes a crime, I believe it was a serious betrayal of the people that the DSC should have never committed," the president said, according to Cheong Wa Dae pool reports.
The DSC will soon be replaced by a new military intelligence unit, which Moon said will only work to help defend the country and its people.
"I promise to the people that the (new) military defense support command will never be used politically from now on," the president said.
Meanwhile, a presidential decree on the creation of the "military security support command" to replace the DSC delineated a concrete set of its missions. They include handling foreign and North Korean intelligence activities targeting Korea's defense firms and crafting measures for military counterintelligence operations.
The decree also bars the members of the new command from any political activities and stipulates that they can take issue with or reject political directives.
In addition, the decree includes a clause banning the installation of the new command's regional detachments. The DSC had staff in 11 major cities and provinces. (Yonhap)