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Vice Adm. Kim Myung-soo named chair of Korea's Joint Chiefs of StaffBy Lee Jaeeun
Published : Oct. 29, 2023 - 18:14
In a surprising move that underscores the growing importance of naval defense, Naval Operations Commander Vice Adm. Kim Myung-soo has been named the new chairperson of Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Ministry of National Defense announced Sunday.
Kim was promoted to four-star general in the military personnel reshuffle to replace incumbent JCS Chairperson Gen. Kim Seung-kyum, according to the ministry.
The appointment marks a significant shift from the traditionally Army-dominated role and makes Kim Myung-soo the first naval officer to hold the position in a decade.
Kim graduated at the top of his class from the Naval Academy in 1989, received the Presidential Award and was commissioned as a second lieutenant. During his time as a colonel, he served as captain of the Korean Navy's first Aegis-class destroyer, the King Sejong. After being promoted to general, he held a variety of important positions, including chief of the Naval Operations Command's Maritime Operations Headquarters, commander of the Fleet Command, dean of the Naval Academy and deputy chief of staff of the Navy.
Kim will be the first naval officer to lead the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 10 years, since Choi Yoon-hee, who served as the JCS chair from 2013 to 2015. The position is typically held by Army chiefs, but Choi was appointed following the sinking of the Cheonan warship in March 2010.
An official from the Defense Ministry said on condition of anonymity that the elevation of Vice Adm. Kim, 56, to chairperson of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was a “surprise” because that position is usually occupied by Army chiefs.
Kim’s appointment took into consideration the rising importance of naval defense, especially in light of attacks and provocative acts from North Korea around the Yellow Sea’s Northern Limit Line.
Military officials anticipate that the appointment will bolster collaboration among the Army, Navy, Air Force and other military branches. Historically, the Joint Chiefs of Staff has predominantly been led by Army generals since its inception.
Kim's appointment will undergo a parliamentary confirmation hearing, followed by approval at a Cabinet meeting.
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