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Ministry of National Defense pledges to submit Martial Law Document as soon as possible

“We will make legal and institutional improvements to ensure that the Defense Security Command can concentrate on its core mission”


On July 16th, Minister of National Defense Song Young-moo called an emergency meeting regarding the martial law document of the Defense Security Command (DSC), with the commanders of the units mentioned in the document. The meeting was attended by commanders from twenty units, including DSC, Army Headquarters, Capital Defense Command, Special Warfare Command and assigned command. “I order all commanders to find all documents related to a martial law plan drafted in 2017, including preparations, standby, and order for action, and submit them within the shortest possible time,” Song said in his opening remarks. Citing the morning statement by President Moon Jae-in, the commander-in-chief, that 'we need to discover what actually happened in the military with regard to the martial law documents,' Song reiterated that all the commanders should use this opportunity to stamp out political interference in our military, keeping in mind that the President's remarks were an official order.

On the same day, the ministry announced, with documents supporting its position, “We will focus on making legal and institutional improvements to ensure that the DSC can concentrate on its core missions, which are anti-espionage and security affairs. We will stamp out the political interference in the DSC through the investigation and punishment of those who illegally meddled in politics in the past, following President Moon‘s special order.”

Regarding some recent media reports on the so-called 'martial law document,' the ministry said that the situation had been reported from the DSC to Minister Song on March 16th. "The minister judged that this document needed legal analysis, and thought at the same time that there should be some political consideration regarding the issue of whether to disclose it," the ministry said. "The minister thought that it was important to maintain the mood for the successful hosting of the Winter Olympics and Paralympics, and foster a good mood for the inter-Korean summit. Also, in consideration of the possibility that it could be an issue if it was disclosed ahead of the June 13 local elections, he decided to keep it undisclosed," the ministry spokesperson added.

On April 30th, Minister Song had a discussion with Blue House secretaries about how to reform the DSC. “A consensus was reached between Minister Song and the secretaries about the need to fundamentally reform the DSC, and they came up with the same direction for reform,” the ministry said. “During the discussion, Minister Song briefly mentioned the existence of the martial law document drafted for candle-lit rallies and the problems it entails as one example of the DSC meddling in politics under the previous government. But under the ministry's non-disclosure policy, the document was not submitted to the Blue House, and the issue was not discussed in further detail.”

The ministry said that Minister Song would set up a DSC reform committee together with external civilian experts and come up with measures to reform the DSC on the basis of the discussion. The reform committee is preparing a draft reform to recommend it to the minister. The ministry added that Minister Song would faithfully engage in implementing the special order made by President Moon, the commander-in-chief, and give serious consideration to the people's concerns about the military prosecutors' investigation into the martial law document, which was not promptly carried out after the local elections were finished.


By Su-Yeol, Maeng < >
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