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Gov't vows continued push for reform for 'smaller yet stronger military'

All News 17:47 April 17, 2020

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- The defense ministry vowed Friday to expedite ongoing reform projects to make the military smaller and stronger and to better deal with nontraditional security threats, such as terrorism and viruses.

During a meeting presided over by Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo, military leaders and arms experts assessed the progress of a total of 42 ongoing projects under its Defense Reform 2.0 initiative launched by the Moon Jae-in administration in 2018.

The ministry vowed to complete the three-month reduction in the mandatory service period for draftees by the end of next year. So far, the ministry shortened the period by around 45 days.

Starting in 2022, Army draftees, for instance, will serve for 18 months, according to the ministry.

To adapt to such changes, along with the reduction in the overall number of troops, the ministry said it will extend support for research and development of cutting-edge technologies, which is also expected to strengthen competitiveness of local defense companies.

The ministry also plans to seek to increase monthly wages for draftees and build more welfare facilities, such as hospitals.

"In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will also proactively beef up capabilities to deal with nontraditional security threats, such as terrorism, natural disasters and viruses," the ministry said.

Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo (C) presides over a meeting to review the military's reform drive, in Seoul, on April 17, 2020, in this photo provided by his office. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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