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President Roh to Attend Military Academy Commencement Every Other Year

President Roh to Attend Military Academy Commencement Every Other Year

Posted February. 15, 2005 22:32,   


President Roh Moo-hyun has reportedly decided not to participate in the commencement ceremony of Korea Military Academy (KMA) that takes place early next month. It is unprecedented for an incumbent president not to attend the graduation ceremony of the KMA since the establishment of the military.

According to Cheong Wa Dae and the Defense Ministry on February 15, President Roh has chosen to attend only three of the six commencements of military and police academies this year among the KMA, R.O.K Naval Academy, Korea Air Force Academy (KAFA), Korea Third Military Academy, ROTC, and Korea National Police University (KNPU), and participate in the remaining three next year.

Under this plan, Roh is expected to take part in KAFA, Korea Third Military Academy, and KNPU commencements this year and not in those of the KMA, R.O.K. Naval Academy, and ROTC, which he attended last year.

“This decision has been made based on the judgment that attending every single graduation ceremony of military and police academies, which fall on certain periods simultaneously every year, may disrupt the conduct of state affairs,” said an official with Cheong Wa Dae, who added, “A close study on cases of other countries showed that no president participated in all of the graduation ceremonies.”

“The prime minister will take the place of the president in ceremonies which will not be attended by the president. Aside from the latest measure, President Roh is reviewing ways to invite valedictorians of the KMA, R.O.K. Naval Academy, and KAFA to Cheong Wa Dae to encourage them as commander-in-chief,” a Defense Ministry official explained.

People hold different views as to why the old practice of presidential attendance at KMA commencements has been broken. The incumbent presidents had participated in KMA graduation ceremonies without exception because the importance of KMA within the military was very significant.

An official with the military said, “The recent change is regarded as proof that the KMA’s status is not as powerful with the increasing emphasis on balanced development of the army, navy, and air force.”

Sang-Ho Yun ysh1005@donga.com