I think South Korea’s military service policy is wrong which has a chronic problem of the system itself. The lives of individuals are equally important to everyone. However, only men over the age of 18 are conscripted to serve the mandatory military service in South Korea. This is not a fair way at all. I am not talking about the current obligation to draft. If it is for the country, it is right to draft all genders. If only a certain gender is excluded from conscription, it is unfair to go to the military. As mentioned above, each person’s life is precious. However, if the entire nation does not join the military, it will be impossible to respond to the national emergency such as Russia-Ukraine crisis. This is a matter of existence of a nation.
Currently, the fertility rate in Korea is 0.92, the overwhelming last among Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries. The presidential transition committee presented a population forecast in 2035 that the number of conscripted men would fall by 50%. Accordingly, I think that a new military service policy should be proposed in the form of a combination of a recruitment system and compulsory combat training. All citizens should carry out trainings that are necessary for combat for about three months. The training should be about how to deal with guns and what system the country returns to in the event of a war. In case of an emergency such as Yeonpyeong Island and Cheonan incident, the period should be extended or reduced, so that time should be spent in the military, human rights violated, and expenses should be spent, and commuting should be operated in the same way as above. Specialized weapons such as helicopters, fighter jets, tanks, etc. should be left to professionals, hired with appropriate wages, in a manner fostered by military academies.
It is out of common sense to pay the minimum hourly wage to soldiers who devote their youth to the country if the country operate unfair conscription without applying such a military service. Currently, as of 2022, the sergeant’s monthly salary is 676,115 won, which is only 50% of the minimum wage in 2017. Since this is a 2017 standard, it is lower when calculated based on the minimum wage in 2022. According to the recent pledge of President Yoon Seok-yeol, the pledge of 2 million won per month for soldiers is on the verge of becoming a reality. In fact, I think it is right to pay more considering the actual soldiers’ work and working hours (night allowance, weekly holiday allowance, and so on.). That is why I think two million won, which is about three times the current salary, is also a meaningful pledge. In any profession, labor must come up with a fair price. I would like to ask whether an army that forces young people to passionately pay and sacrifice without pay can be a strong group of soldiers.
Kim Dong-hyun firstname.lastname@example.org
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