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U.S. envoy meets female cadets at Sookmyung

U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens encouraged students selected for the country’s first Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs at Sookmyung Women’s University on Wednesday, saying their contribution to the Korean Army will help strengthen national defense.

Stressing the importance of women’s participation in the Army, the ambassador also asked the nation’s first female cadets at the Seoul university to help build friendship between Korea and the U.S.
U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens (left) and Sookmyung Women’s University president Han Young-sil (right) pass through a sword arch by female cadets at the university in central Seoul on Wednesday. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)
U.S. Ambassador Kathleen Stephens (left) and Sookmyung Women’s University president Han Young-sil (right) pass through a sword arch by female cadets at the university in central Seoul on Wednesday. (Ahn Hoon/The Korea Herald)

The ambassador reportedly repeated the word “wonderful” while passing through an arch formed by swords by the female cadets at the university.

It was her first meeting with the female cadets.

Stephens also noted the growing number of Korean women in the country’s male-dominated diplomatic and development circle. At a question and answer session held at the university later in the afternoon she told students that Korean women should increase their access to other parts of society.

Late last year, the Army established the country’s first female ROTC program at Sookmyung.

The college-based officer commissioning program will be run on a trial basis and the ministry will expand it should it prove to be effective in recruiting good female military personnel.

The ROTC program in Korea had previously been open only to male students.

For a woman to become a commissioned officer in Korea, she had to graduate from a military academy or apply to an officer commissioning program after graduating from a four-year university.

The 60 female cadets will receive 175 hours of military education and 12 weeks of training at a military training center. A female ROTC student is obliged to serve in the military for 28 months.

By Cho Chung-un (christory@heraldcorp.com)
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