Military Capabilities

South Korea to reduce number of troops to 500,000 by 2022

25 January 2018

South Korea plans to cut the number of active military personnel by about 125,000 to 500,000 troops within the next four years as part of a new round of defence reforms, the Ministry of National Defense (MND) in Seoul said in a statement on 21 January.

The ministry also announced a plan to gradually reduce the mandatory service period of non-commissioned soldiers to 18 months from the current 21 months.

South Korea had approximately 625,000 troops, including 490,000 army service members, as of December 2016, compared with North Korea’s 1.28-million strong armed forces, according to the MND’s 2016 Defense White Paper.

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