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More than 16,000 men give up nationality to avoid military service

2015/09/14 10:49

SEOUL, Sept. 14 (Yonhap) -- More than 16,000 South Korean men have relinquished their nationality to avoid the mandatory military service in recent years, an opposition lawmaker said Monday.

A total of 4,386 men opted for foreign citizenship in 2014, up from 3,470 men in 2011, said Rep. Jin Sung-joon of the main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, citing data of the Military Manpower Administration submitted to the National Assembly for an annual audit.

In the first seven months of this year, 2,374 men gave up their nationality to avoid the military service, Jin said.

By nationality, most men became citizens of the United States, followed by Canada, Australia and New Zealand, Jin said.

Separate data showed that nearly 1 in 10 high-ranking public officials was exempted from the military service.

A total of 2,568 out of 24,980 senior public officials working for the government and related agencies did not fulfill their military duty for various reasons, according to the data released by Rep. Baek Gun-ki of the NPAD.

All able-bodied South Korean men must carry out military service for about two years in a country facing North Korea across the heavily fortified border.