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Calls for Military Reform Intensify After Soldier’s Death

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Chief of Staff of the Republic of Korea Army Park An Su recently paid a visit to the funeral of a trainee who died during a military discipline drill, colloquially known as pack drill, at an army unit of the 12th Division.

On the afternoon of the 28th, Park spent about an hour and twenty minutes at the funeral home in Naju, where the trainee’s wake was held. He mourned the deceased and comforted the bereaved family during a meeting.

Newsis

He visited the wake with military officials including Kim Jin Ik, the Army Personnel Chief of Staff. Before Park’s party arrived, the wake was visited by Choi Byung Ok, the Secretary of Defense, and the Deputy Commander of the 12th Division.

After paying his respects, Park remained silent in response to reporters’ questions asking if he agreed with the Human Rights Center of the Military’s definition of pack drill as a brutal act, and boarded the army bus.

Previously, at around 5:20 PM on the 23rd, a trainee collapsed while undergoing military discipline training at an army unit in Inje, Gangwon Province. He was transported to a hospital for treatment but ultimately died on the 25th.

Newsis

Subsequently, it was discovered that the trainee was forced to run, do push-ups, and participate in a race while in full dress, clearly violating the army’s regulations. The officer in charge at the time also ignored reports that the trainee was in poor health and insisted on continuing the drill, sparking outrage.

The case has been transferred from the military to the Gangwon Provincial Police Agency for investigation. The military has requested the police to investigate the company commander and another officer who ordered the discipline training for charges including manslaughter, and professional negligence with abuse of power.

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