The Cabinet approved a proposal Tuesday to shorten the mandatory military service period for South Korean men by up to three months over the next couple of years.
The proposal was part of the defense ministry's reform measures dubbed the Defense Reform 2.0 made public in May. Reducing the service period was one of President Moon Jae-in's campaign promises.
Starting in October, the service period will be gradually reduced in the coming years to 18 months in the case of the Army from the current 21 months, to 20 months in the case of the Navy from the current 23 months and to 22 months in the case of the Air Force from the current 24 months.
If the reduction is fully implemented, the number of South Korea's troops -- currently 625,000 -- will decrease to half a million. Opposition parties voiced concern it could weaken defense capabilities.
The government can cut the service period by up to six months without revising the law. (Yonhap)