Paik expected to be a honorary 5 star
Kim Jang-soo, representative of the ruling Grand National Party and former defense minister, said yesterday he would raise the issue today at the general meeting of the Defense Committee under the National Assembly. “The main opposition Democratic Party is also behind this idea,” Kim said.
Paik was the Army Chief of Staff during the Korean War. Prior to that, he was the commander of the 1st Army Division, the first South Korean unit to enter Pyongyang during the Korean War. Paik later became the South’s first-ever four-star general. He was regarded highly for leading his troops to victories in major battles.
Kim said honoring Paik would be part of the commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Korean War. Under the current law, only active generals considered to have made great contributions to the nation may be given the rank of five-star general. But Kim stressed that Paik’s designation “would literally be honorary.”
If approved, Paik would be not only the first honorary five-star general, but the first-ever five-star general in South Korea’s history.
“Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told the National Assembly last year that he would actively pursue this matter,” Kim Jang-soo added. “It would be a symbolic move and the government should take the initiative.”
Kim Young-woo, another GNP representative and a member of the Defense Committee, said aside from honoring Paik, the government should run projects to show appreciation for all Korean War veterans.
By Jung Hyo-sik [firstname.lastname@example.org]
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