The Korea Herald


Panel proposes legislation to ensure military's political neutrality

By Yonhap

Published : Dec. 14, 2017 - 10:50

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A government-civilian committee on eradicating deep-rooted malpractices in South Korea's military proposed special legislation Thursday on forcing it to stay away from politics.

It calls for heavy punishment against civil servants and defense officials seeking military intervention in political affairs.

Military officials will also be required to reject any related order, instruction or request.

It's among a set of measures suggested by the panel created by the Ministry of National Defense in September.

It's tasked with mapping out non-firepower reform plans in line with President Moon Jae-in's push for rooting out "accumulated wrongdoings" in the various sectors of the country.

South Korea's military has been accused of having intervened in politics whether it wanted to or not, apparently a legacy of military dictatorships decades ago.

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo (R) (Yonhap) South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo (R) (Yonhap)

Many people here are also sharply divided over an appropriate approach toward North Korea.

There have been a number of news reports on national leaders' attempts to use the armed forces for political gains.

The committee stressed the need for establishing a special law on promoting the political neutrality of local troops and protecting their rights.

It also urged the defense ministry to set up the system to enhance transparency in the probe into suspicious deaths in the military, security education and the conscription process.

"I hope the Ministry of National Defense will faithfully implement the committee's suggestions, regain public trust and make it the starting point to focus on the military's mission," said Kang Ji-won, a human rights lawyer who chairs the committee. (Yonhap)