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Report: SKorea's military chief offers to retire

 South Korean Army soldiers look at the northern side through a pair of binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ)...
 A South Korean Army soldier looks at the northern side through a pair of binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DM...
 A man and his daughter look over North Korean side through the wire fence decorated with a variety of clothing with messages wishing for reunificatio...

South Korea Ship Sinks

South Korean Army soldiers look at the northern side through a pair of binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DMZ)...

South Korea Ship Sinks

A South Korean Army soldier looks at the northern side through a pair of binoculars at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, near the demilitarized zone (DM...

South Korea Ship Sinks

A man and his daughter look over North Korean side through the wire fence decorated with a variety of clothing with messages wishing for reunificatio...

South Korea's top military officer offered to retire Sunday amid criticism over alleged negligence ahead of the deadly sinking of a warship blamed on North Korea, a news report said.
Gen. Lee Sang-eui, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, submitted his application for retirement to Defense Minister Kim Tae-young, Yonhap news agency reported, citing a statement by Lee.
The report came three days after South Korea's top audit agency told Kim to punish Lee and 24 other senior defense officials for failing to ensure combat readiness ahead of the March 26 sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan.
"I feel deeply responsible for the Cheonan incident," Lee was quoted as saying by Yonhap.
Calls to the Defense Ministry and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were not immediately answered late Sunday.
A team of South Korean and international investigators concluded last month that a torpedo from a North Korean submarine tore apart and sank the vessel off South Korea's west coast, killing 46 sailors. North Korea flatly denies it was behind the sinking and has warned any punishment would trigger war.
On Thursday, South Korea's Board of Audit and Inspection found fault with the military for failing to prevent the sinking.
The audit body said the military had expected that a North Korean submarine or submersible vessel could secretly attack a South Korean ship following a sea skirmish between the two sides in the area in November.
However, the navy and the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not take appropriate countermeasures and neglected combat readiness, audit agency official Park Soo-won said.
South Korea has taken a slew of punitive measures against North Korea, including curtailing trade and resuming propaganda operations. It also has asked the U.N. Security Council to punish the North.
The two Koreas are still technically at war because their 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.


Updated : 2021-10-19 00:10 GMT+08:00