SEOUL, June 21 (Korea Bizwire) – An increasing number of conscripts from a mixed-race family background is expected to make the Army multicultural starting in 2025, a government official said Monday.
According to the official, the Defense Ministry has forecast that the number of men from multicultural families to be enlisted will reach an average 8,518 a year between 2015 and 2031.
“The surge in the number of multicultural soldiers will inevitably turn the Army into a multicultural one,” he said. “The ministry has started to come up with measures to deal with the change.”
The increase in the number of multicultural soldiers is attributed to a surge in the number of multicultural children aged 18 or younger, which came to 208,000 in 2015 from 25,000 in 2006.
As cultural backgrounds are becoming diverse among soldiers, the Army should help these soldiers serve in stable surroundings, the official said, adding, “We need to respect and understand multicultural values in order to manage military units confronting the increasing diversity of multicultural backgrounds in the Army.”
As part of efforts to orient the Army into a multicultural organization, the ministry plans to conduct a survey on soldiers’ understanding of multiculturalism and discrimination against multicultural soldiers, if any, in order to develop teaching materials helping servicemen know how to accept people from different cultural backgrounds.
Under the plan, the ministry will commission a private company in the second part of the year which will be tasked with an analysis on patterns of discriminatory actions against multicultural soldiers, among other issues.
Two years of military service is mandatory for all healthy South Korean men, as the Korean Peninsula remains technically at war ever since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.