Image by egg (Hong, Yun Seon) (, CC BY 2.0 license.

Controversy over document related to declare martial law during 2016 candelight rallies

by Knowing Korea

South Korea is awash with demands for thorough investigation and harsh punishments for members of the Defense Security Command involved in reviewing the possibility of declaring martial law during 2016’s candelight rallies.

The review was prepared ahead of the decision to impeach former president Park Geun-hye in March 2017, and there is possibility it could engulf members of the Park Geun-hye administration, such as Former Chief of Staff Kim Ki-choon and Acting President Hwang Kyo-ahn.

President Moon Jae-In recently instructed the Defense Ministry and Defense Security Command to submit all documents related to the review, an announcement that brought particular attention to just how serious the issue is as Moon made it while on a foreign trip to India. The investigation is to involve a team of special investigators comprised of fully independent non-military personnel to avoid any interference from the Ministry of National Defense.

Head of the ruling Democratic Party, Choo Mi-ae, decried the Defense Security Command for setting up “the people as imaginary enemies," stating that planning to move troops against citizens could constitute conspiracy to begin a civil war. She also called for it to be revealed in detail who called for the review into declaring martial law, and how far it was prepared.

A number of other members of the National Assembly have made similar statements on the severity
of this plan and calls for harsh punishment.