Posted December. 15, 2010 11:01,
South Korean Army Chief of Staff Hwang Eui-don stepped down Tuesday only six months after his appointment due to a financial scandal over property investment.
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Han Min-koo also wanted to resign over North Koreas shelling of Yeonpyeong Island but the presidential office reportedly persuaded him to stay on to avoid controversy.
Hwang delivered his intention to resign to President Lee Myung-bak through Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin Monday night, and the president accepted this.
A military source quoted Hwang as saying in a military discharge document form, I delivered my intention to resign to the president in the belief that I am unsuitable to lead the Army at this critical juncture, when reform should be conducted with a new minister.
His assignments will be covered by Vice Army Chief of Staff Cho Jong-hwan. As Hwangs successor, Third Army Commander Kim Sang-ki, Combined Forces Command Deputy Commander Jung Seung-jo, First Army Commander Park Jung-i and Second Operation Army Commander Lee Chul-hyee are being considered.
The next Army chief of staff will be inaugurated around Dec. 22 after voting at a Cabinet meeting next week (Dec. 21).
With the forthcoming change of the Army chief of staff, the reshuffle will be delayed from the Dec. 15 schedule and the scope of change will be bigger.
A high-ranking government source said, All authorities are delegated to Minister Kim and there will be no transfer of top military positions except for Army chief of staff. Depending on the situation, however, a major reshuffle of the head of office and division of the Defense Ministry (major general level or higher) and the department heads at the Joint Chiefs Staff or equivalent could take place."