Park urges real reforms for life in the military

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Park urges real reforms for life in the military

President Park Geun-hye demanded stronger efforts to improve the culture of the Korean military in a series of meetings with the National Security Council and cabinet members yesterday, the second day of the annual joint Korea-United States military drills.

“I am aware you are making efforts to make innovations in military culture but the efforts are not supposed to end up as a one-time event,” she told cabinet members in the meeting in the national crisis control room in the basement of the Blue House building. “I would like you to think of reforming military culture as one dimension of national security and to proceed with it.”

Her demands were prompted by a series of cases of abuse among soldiers that led to murders or suicides. Less than a week earlier, Park presided over a meeting with leaders of the armed forces to discuss ways of tackling the prevalence of violent incidents among the ranks.

Reform plans started to emerge after the military tried to cover up the death by beating of an army private in April.

The president also mentioned the importance of better handling disasters, apparently inspired by the very poor emergency response to the sinking of the Sewol ferry on April 16.

“National crisis control is supposed to be about not only coping with security threats but also with diverse disasters and accidents,” Park said, referring to the ongoing Ulchi Freedom Guardian exercise involving Korean and U.S. troops. “The Ulchi exercise should be carried out in a way that trains our troops about complex situations such as terror, fire and natural disasters at the initial stage.”

Park noted the significance of the annual drills this year.

“North Korea has been waging provocations and threats such as dispatches of drones, firing of artillery shells over the Northern Limit Line,” the president said.

BY SEO JI-EUN [spring@joongang.co.kr]








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