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Former No. 2 at ROK-US combined forces command joins ruling party

The ruling Democratic Party announced Thursday that retired Gen. Kim Byung-joo, a former deputy commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command, had agreed to join the party and run in the general elections in April.

Retired Gen. Kim Byung-joo (center), former deputy commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command, announces his bid for the parliamentary election in April 2020. (Yonhap)
Retired Gen. Kim Byung-joo (center), former deputy commander of the ROK-US Combined Forces Command, announces his bid for the parliamentary election in April 2020. (Yonhap)

“A security expert with a vision for a strong armed forces, Gen. Kim is a professional in the ROK-US alliance and international strategy. He’s widely credited for ensuring the strongest military alliance with Washington during his term,” the party said at a press briefing at the National Assembly.

Having been awarded four stars during the tenure of the Moon administration, Kim was the first commanding general of the Army’s missile command to be promoted to the four-star rank.

Vincent Brooks, a retired CFC commanding general who remains in close contact with Kim, sent him a congratulatory letter calling him “a military expert, scholar and brother,” according to Kim, who read a Korean version aloud at the press briefing. “I respect him and am certain he will contribute greatly to South Korean politics.”

Discharged from the military last April, Kim has appeared on TV and delivered lectures concerning military matters.

“Starting from the National Assembly, I will further solidify the ironclad ROK-US alliance with my experience. We need politics to engineer better security and a strong military,” Kim said at the press briefing.

Asked whether he would run in a constituency, Kim said nothing had been decided, but indicated he would do what the party asked him to do.

Also on Thursday, Park Chan-ju, a former chief of the Army’s 2nd Operational Command, announced his intention to run for a parliamentary seat in his hometown of Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province.

“With our security in dire condition, economy in limbo, politics in disorientation and society in division, I will address the government’s misguided peace drive and bring security,” Park said at a press briefing at Cheonan City Hall.

Park had been under fire for allegedly abusing his power and having his soldiers tend to his personal matters, but prosecutors decided not to indict him on those allegations.

However, Park was indicted and convicted of violating the Prohibition of Improper Solicitation and Graft Act because he promoted a subordinate who had requested the promotion. He appealed his conviction, but the Supreme Court ruled against him.

By Choi Si-young (siyoungchoi@heraldcorp.com)

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