Troops to Be Slashed to 500,000 by 2022

  • By Jun Hyun-suk

    January 22, 2018 12:08

    The Defense Ministry pledged Friday to slash the number of troops from the current 620,000 to 500,000 and shorten mandatory military service from the current 21 months to 18 by 2022.

    The pledges are part of a defense reform plan announced by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon at the government complex in Seoul.

    The troop cuts were one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign promises.

    Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (front row center) speaks at the government complex in Seoul on Friday. /Yonhap

    The ministry said there will also be a decision in October about the handover of full operational control of Korean troops from the U.S.

    Last year, the leaders of Korea and the U.S. agreed on early return of troop control.

    But it will be conditional on the Korean military's ability to take the lead in the combined defense, improved capability to respond to the North Korean nuclear and missile threats, and an "appropriate security environment" on the Korean Peninsula and in the region.

    The government is going to carry out a pre-assessment by next year to speed up the overall process.

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