Disciplinary measures issued over Cheonan

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Disciplinary measures issued over Cheonan

The South Korean Defense Ministry announced yesterday that it handed Choi Won-il, former captain of the sunken warship Cheonan, a suspended sentence and reprimanded nine other military officials regarding the March incident.

Six months ago the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) turned over a report in June that demanded 25 South Korean military officials, including 12 top commanders, be reprimanded regarding the sinking of the corvette. Although Defense Ministry officials announced their decisions on the case yesterday, they refused to give out the names of those who were to be punished, citing privacy issues.

According to the press release from the ministry, one admiral was selected for a heavy punishment and immediately suspended him from his post. Captain Choi and another officer were given suspended sentences while seven other officials were handed light punishments. Suspended sentences last for six months after they are handed out by the disciplinary committee and are later replaced with warnings.

However, the sentences remain permanently on their military records.

Yang Cheol-ho, who was in charge of operations at the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, was cleared of charges.

“The disciplinary committee found the officials guilty of negligence regarding preparations for battle on the northwestern coast. The captain was also found to be at fault for letting the situation give way to confusion when it was not reported to his superiors that it was thought to be a torpedo that struck the ship,” explained the statement.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]
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