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S. Korean officers reprimanded for missile accidents.

SEOUL, Dec. 9 Kyodo

South Korean Defense Minister Cheon Yong Taek on Wednesday reprimanded 13 military officers, including the army and air force chiefs, for a missile misfiring and gun shell explosion last week, a Defense Ministry spokesman said. In connection with the accidental firing of a ground-to-air missile last Friday, Cheon gave a warning to the air force chief of staff while referring two commanders and two others to a disciplinary committee and relieving two officers from their assignments, the spokesman said. For the gun shell explosion in a barrack of a front-line unit last week, Cheon also gave a warning to the army chief of staff and referred two commanders to the disciplinary committee while relieving two officers from their assignments and arresting a platoon leader. ''The Defense Ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff have decided to make utmost efforts to establish strict military discipline and prevent any accident from recurring,'' the spokesman said. The Nike Hercules missile was mistakenly fired into the sky from an antiaircraft unit in Inchon, west of Seoul, and exploded in midair seconds later as a result of a built-in self-destruction program. Metal fragments rained down on residential areas, slightly injuring at least three civilians and damaging about 20 cars and shattering hundreds of glass panes in nearby areas. A gun shell exploded in a barrack of a front-line unit Friday, leaving three soldiers dead and five others wounded. The accident occurred when soldiers were tinkering with a 90-millimeter recoil gun they had picked up at a training range. President Kim Dae Jung gave a harsh warning to Cheon on Tuesday for the accidents that caused serious concern among the people and ordered Cheon to demand stricter military discipline. Kim had earlier considered sacking Cheon over these accidents, but decided to retain him in recognition of his efforts to reform the military, government sources said.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Dec 14, 1998
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