The number of military deserters has decreased more than 80 percent since 2013, the defense ministry said Monday.
A total of 105 conscripts attempted to abandon their units in 2019, down 83.7 percent from 643 desertions in 2013, according to the ministry.
During the cited period, the number of active-duty soldiers who committed suicide fell 22.7 percent from 79 cases in 2013 to 61 last year, the ministry data showed.
Such improvement is, at least in part, attributable to a new military help line, according to the ministry.
Since its establishment in 2013, the center has received 295,000 calls from soldiers, or around 42,000 cases per year on average, and in order to better help service personnel in a crisis, the ministry has beefed up the service recently by adding more staff and lines and by implementing advanced systems.
"Each counselor should do their best to care for soldiers to save lives and to prevent accidents at the barracks," Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said during a ceremony on Monday to mark the opening of the expanded call center. (Yonhap)