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S. Korea to raise salaries of soldiers by 15 percent next year

The government plans to raise the salaries of soldiers by 15 percent next year as part of efforts to improve their overall welfare conditions, the finance ministry said Friday.

According to the ministry, the government will hike the salaries of corporals to 134,600 won (US$126) a month next year from this year's 117,000 won.

Salaries for private and private first class soldiers will also increase to 112,500 won and 121,700, respectively, from 97,800 won and 105,800 won, the ministry said. Sergeants will see their salaries increase to 149,000 won from 129,600 won a month.

Along with the pay raise, the government also plans to increase its per-capita daily spending on basic meals for soldiers to 6,644 won next year from 6,432 won of this year.

The planned pay raise and increase in spending on meals are in line with the government's budget request for the defense ministry in which it seeks to spend 35.8 trillion won for next year, a 4.2 percent growth from this year.

The Park Geun-hye government earlier vowed to double the salaries of soldiers by the end of 2017 in order to improve their overall welfare conditions. To that end, it pushes to raise the pay by an annual average of 20 percent.

In South Korea, all able-bodied men aged 18-38 must serve in South Korea's 650,000-strong military for around two years. (Yonhap News)



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