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Gov't to conscript extra 20,000 soldiers in next 2 yrs

The government and the ruling party agreed Tuesday to conscript an additional 20,000 soldiers over the next two years, as part of efforts to steadily maintain its standing forces.

The government will spend an extra budget of 60 billion won ($53 million) to recruit an additional 10,000 officers in 2016 and another 10,000 in 2017.

"Currently, some 250,000 men are conscripted annually and there is enough facility to accommodate an extra 10,000," Rep. Kim Sung-chan of the ruling Saenuri Party told reporters following the meeting with government officials.

The military reform comes after the country faced an increasing number of young men waiting to be conscripted amid worsening youth unemployment.

Some 52,000 men are currently waiting to fulfill their military duty, according to data from the Military Manpower Administration.

The government and the Saenuri Party will also push forward with increasing the ratio of non-commissioned officers with specific technical expertise and skills, Kim said.

The number is expected to be increased from the current 4,000 to 6,000 annually.

All able-bodied South Korean men are required to complete nearly two years of military service as the country is technically at war with North Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)