October 03, 2023

Yoon Suk-yeol taps military official with US-ROK expertise as defense minister

Lee Jong-sup, former vice chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, pledges to both build up military and utilize US deterrence

South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol has nominated a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) under Moon Jae-in to serve as his defense minister, as the incoming administration calibrates its approach to escalating North Korea tensions since earlier this year.

At a briefing following his selection, retired three-star lieutenant general Lee Jong-sup emphasized the need to build up South Korea’s independent military capabilities while also coordinating with the U.S. to deter threats from Pyongyang.