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Moon says military needs to regain public trust

All News 16:34 August 04, 2021

SEOUL, Aug. 4 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday that South Korea's military has lost public trust due to some recent incidents, while it has contributed to regional peace and the fight against COVID-19, according to his office.

Moon raised the need for the military to start afresh in efforts to regain the trust of the people, holding a rare Cheong Wa Dae meeting with top military commanders. Attendees included Defense Minister Suh Wook and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Won In-choul, as well as the chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

President Moon Jae-in (2nd from L) speaks during a meeting with South Korea's top military leaders at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on Aug. 4, 2021, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The president, in particular, said that the mass coronavirus infections among the nation's Cheonghae Unit members have caused great concern to the people.

Most of the 301 Cheonghae Unit sailors aboard a Navy destroyer on anti-piracy patrol in the Gulf of Aden have been infected with the virus. The government came under strong criticism, as they remained unvaccinated.

The defense minister reported to Moon that 93.6 percent of the nation's total 550,000 soldiers have received at least a dose of COVID-19 vaccines, with the provision of second doses to be completed by Friday, Cheong Wa Dae spokesperson Park Kyung-mee said in a press briefing.

Moon noted that the military can set a precedent for herd immunity and ordered the minister to make sure that the training manuals against heat waves can be properly executed.

In connection with the death in late May of a female Air Force officer, who suffered sexual violence from her male colleague, the minister briefed Moon on measures to prevent a similar incident from recurring.

Moon pointed out that it was a "serious incident that shocked the public" and that there were a lot of problems in handling it, including false reporting and a cover-up.


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