South Korea to ease standards for conscription as birth rates plunge

Military could enlist naturalised Koreans and women, as well as build smart army of robots

South Korean President Moon Jae-in having lunch with soldiers earlier this month at an air base in Daegu, after attending a ceremony to mark the country's 71st Armed Forces Day. Mr Moon's administration has improved the welfare of national service conscri
South Korean President Moon Jae-in having lunch with soldiers earlier this month at an air base in Daegu, after attending a ceremony to mark the country's 71st Armed Forces Day. Mr Moon's administration has improved the welfare of national service conscripts, increasing their pay and giving them more time away from their camps so they can rest and socialise. PHOTO: EPA-EFE
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Mr Park Su-hyun found out at the age of 20 that he did not have to serve national service (NS).

He was exempted from compulsory enlistment in South Korea as he had a "level 6 disability pass" after undergoing surgery to fix a knee injury sustained during taekwondo and soccer training four years ago.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 13, 2019, with the headline South Korea to ease standards for conscription as birth rates plunge. Subscribe