“The security situation of the Korean Peninsula is now at a major historical turning point as we proceed towards peace and prosperity after long periods of confrontation,” Park said in his inaugural ceremony at the Ministry of National Defense on Thursday morning.
“The people of Korea are demanding the military forces to be reliable, to be able to defend them and the nation as they stay prepared against any possible contingencies.”
Park vowed to build a strong military that “wins first and fights later,” referring to the words of the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu who said that a victorious general only goes to war after winning it first by making calculations in his temple.
Park also pledged to train selected, high-tech troops to cope with the “fourth industrial revolution” and next-generation technologies, and develop an “optimized” military structure for that.
He noted that through such processes, the military under his command will seek the transfer of wartime operational control with power to be responsible for its own security.
He said he will continue to enhance the South Korean military’s “combat abilities to flexibly deal with existing or potential threats to subdue the enemy’s will to provoke, and build troops that win any adversities with a mission to protect the nation and its people.”
Park also said the South Korean military’s “combat paradigm will be shifted so that all soldiers and combat units can wage a war under the same strategy and operation concept.”
“We will build a military where strict operational discipline and respect for the soldiers’ human rights coexist,” he said.
In addition to military preparedness against comprehensive security threats such as cyberattacks, terrorism and natural disasters, the military will effectively establish an integrated defense system that prepares members of the government, civilians and police as well, and in case of armed provocations, will mobilize all forces to end the situation with minimum loss in the shortest possible period of time, Park said.
Park has served in various commanding posts including those at the Army’s 2nd Operational Command, 8th Corps and 53rd Division. He is the first graduate of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program to take office as the JCS chief in 20 years. Graduates of the Korea Military Academy have long dominated top military posts.
By Kim So-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)