This photo, provided by the Kookbang Ilbo newspaper, shows a meeting of top commanders under way at the defense ministry headquarters in Seoul on Friday. (Kookbang Ilbo)
The military will try to raise the average daily meal cost for service members to 10,500 won ($9) next year, the defense ministry said Friday, after coming under criticism that soldiers are poorly fed.
Defense Minister Suh Wook discussed the raise and other measures during a meeting with military commanders, according to the ministry. The current cost per meal for troops is 2,930 won, lower than the average for high school students at 3,625 won, it said.
The military came under fire after a series of photos and other information related to their poor living conditions, such as meal quality and excessive COVID-19 quarantine rules, were sent to a Facebook account that serves as an anonymous bulletin board for service members.
The ministry also said it will look into why troops had to resort to external channels to make their voices heard and consider developing a new system to improve communication to alleviate difficulties suffered by the draftees.
Rank-and-file soldiers were officially allowed to use their mobile phones after work last year though taking photos, videos or recording sound is still prohibited.
"I consider the recent series of incidents very seriously," Suh told commanders at the start of the meeting. "I hope you put utmost attention to finding a balance among maintaining a readiness posture, responding to COVID-19 and protecting service members' human rights." (Yonhap)