South Korea replaces Army, Air Force, Marine Corps chiefs

By Jo He-rim
  • Published : Apr 8, 2019 - 16:41
  • Updated : Apr 8, 2019 - 16:41

South Korea replaced the chiefs of staff for its Army, Air Force and Marine Corps in a regular reshuffle on Monday, as the military seeks to maintain robust readiness and to support the peace efforts amid ongoing talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Lt. Gen. Suh Wook, chief director of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was tapped as the new Army chief of staff to replace Gen. Kim Yong-woo, who has led the Army since August 2017, the Defense Ministry said. 

Suh, a graduate of Korea Military Academy, is a military operation specialist, having had undertaken posts as a head of frontline units and operation chief. He was born in Gwangju in 1963.

From left: Lt. Gen. Suh Wook, nominee for the Army chief of staff; Lt. Gen. Won In-choul for the Air Force chief of staff; Lt. Gen. Choi Byung-hyuk for the deputy commander of the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command; Lt. Gen. Nam Young-sin for the head of the Ground Operations Command; Maj. Gen. Lee Seung-do for Marine Corps commandant. (Yonhap)

For the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Won In-choul, the vice JCS chairman, was named to replace Gen. Lee Wang-keun, who was appointed to the top post also in August 2017. Won graduated from Air Force Academy and is also an expert in joint operations, the ministry said.

Maj. Gen. Lee Seung-do, commander of the military readiness inspection group at the JCS, was named the Marine Corps commandant to replace Lt. Gen. Jun Jin-goo, who has served in the post since April 2017.

The government also appointed Lt. Gen. Choi Byung-hyuk, the Army’s deputy chief of staff, as the deputy commander of the South Korea-US Combined Forces Command, and Lt. Gen. Nam Young-sin, the chief of the Defense Security Support Command, as the head of the Ground Operations Command.

The ministry said the nominees were selected based on their abilities to promote the tasks of military reform and the transfer of the wartime operational control from the United States to South Korea. The two allies have been discussing “condition-based” transfer of the OPCON, as they seek to complete the plan by 2022.

The ministry also highlighted that the Monday’s nominations largely focused on the capabilities of the candidates, breaking away from the “conventional personnel appointment” that would take factors such as regionalism and school relations.

The chiefs of staff are expected to be appointed by the president after reviewing of the Cabinet meeting slated Tuesday.

By Jo He-rim (