New Navy chief takes office, vows to build strong force

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- Adm. Sim Seung-seob took office as South Korea's new chief of naval operations Thursday, vowing to build a "strong Navy to buttress national security and prosperity."

His inauguration ceremony was held hours after President Moon Jae-in appointed him to the top post at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae. He replaced Um Hyun-seong, who had served in the top post of the Navy since 2016.

"Now, the Korean Peninsula is at a great turning point that will lead us into a new era of peace and prosperity," Sim said during his speech at the Gyeryongdae military headquarters, some 160 kilometers south of Seoul.

"Even if there was a situational change, the values of national defense and security do not change. ... The military can garner love and trust from citizens by propping up the government's policy with strong power," he added.

His swearing-in came amid a flurry of diplomacy aimed at denuclearizing the North, reducing cross-border tensions and establishing a permanent peace regime on the peninsula.

Sim is noted for his expertise in joint military operations and maritime maneuvers.

Since being commissioned as an ensign in 1985, he has served in key naval roles, including commanding the ROK 1st Fleet and taking charge of personnel management and intelligence operations. Before taking the Navy chief position, he served as strategic planning chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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