The Korea Herald


Yoon likely to replace his senior defense officials

By Shin Ji-hye

Published : Sept. 4, 2023 - 15:27

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Presidential office (Yonhap) Presidential office (Yonhap)

President Yoon Suk-yeol is likely to replace his senior two defense and security officials, multiple local media outlets reported Monday.

According to reports, Deputy National Security Adviser Lim Jong-deuk and Defense Secretary Lim Ki-hoon are poised to be replaced. The former is set to be succeeded by In Seong-hwan, a major general and the former president of the Joint Forces Military University, while the latter will be replaced by Choi Byung-ok from the Defense Ministry's Defense Policy Office.

The transition is slated to occur later this month or at the earliest, by next month.

In, recognized as an expert in joint operations between South Korea and the United States, has a distinguished career in military collaboration. In 1992, he became the first South Korean appointed as a United Nations Military Command Security Battalion commander. He also joined the joint planning team of the US Central Command in 2006 to undertake various assignments.

Choi served as a unit commander of the Joint Security Area Guard Corps while he was a major, and as a special commander of the 707th Special Mission Group.

Some speculate that the abrupt reshuffling of the two senior defense officials may be linked to the recent death of Corporal Chae Su-geun of the Marine Corps. However, the presidential office has dismissed such speculation, saying it has "nothing to do" with the late corporal.

The late Chae was killed last month when he was swept away by a swift current while searching for missing individuals in a stream near the site of a major landslide and flooding in Yecheon-gun, North Gyeongsang Province, following torrential rains.

The Center for Military Human Rights Korea noted, "Following the investigation into Corporal Chae's death, there is increasing suspicion that the presidential office and the Defense Ministry have influenced the probe to amend the findings, potentially to absolve the division and brigade commanders."