President Yoon Appoints New JCS Chairman from Navy, First in a Decade

SEOUL – President Yoon Suk Yeol has officially appointed Vice Admiral Kim Myung-soo as the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), making him the first top-ranking military officer from the Navy to assume this position in a decade.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Vice Admiral Kim’s appointment was finalized without a confirmation report from the National Assembly. Kim, who previously served as the Naval Operations Commander, underwent a parliamentary confirmation hearing earlier this month. However, he did not receive approval from the main opposition Democratic Party (DP), which raised concerns over his conduct.

The DP's objections centered around allegations that Kim engaged in stock trading during working hours and played golf during a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile launch. Additionally, the DP raised issues regarding a school bullying case involving Kim's daughter 11 years ago, wherein she was allegedly one of the perpetrators but received a relatively light penalty.

This appointment marks the first time since Admiral Choi Yoon-hee's tenure from 2013 to 2015 that a Navy officer has been appointed to the highest military post in South Korea. Kim Myung-soo's elevation to this position is notable as it breaks a decade-long precedent of Army officers holding the JCS chairmanship.

Under South Korean law, the National Assembly is required to conduct a confirmation hearing and submit a report to the president within 20 days of the hearing request. If the parliament fails to issue a report within this period, the president may request an additional period of up to 10 days for the National Assembly to try again.

However, with the National Assembly failing to issue a report before the deadline of Friday, President Yoon proceeded to appoint Kim without the parliamentary report. This makes Kim Myung-soo the 20th ministerial-level official appointed by President Yoon without a confirmation report from the National Assembly.

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