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North Korea will soon make military service mandatory for women

Military service in North Korea

The news comes from the Daily NK, an internet newspaper that is based in Seoul, South Korea and staffed by both North and South Koreans. The paper relies on a network of informants inside of North Korea and in the past has often been the first with reports of events in that country.

“Late last year, we received orders for all women who have graduated from middle and high school to undergo mandatory military service,” the Daily NK said a source in North Hamkyung Province told them this week.

Their story on military service for women notes that women will only serve until they are 23 and that that will be the case for the women enlisting this year. So a 20-year-old who enlists later in 2015 when the order goes into effect will only serve three years, while a 17-year-old will serve six years.

Exemption from North Korean military

As with males, who must serve 10 years in the military, women will undergo screening but, again as with men, most will be passed into service. Those with contagious diseases, such as hepatitis or tuberculosis won’t be required to serve. There is a mandatory height requirement for service but the Daily NK reports that more often it is ignored.

It appears that the exceptionally gifted will be exempt from duties, though it’s not clear what those exceptional gifts must be to enable someone to avoid military service. Currently women can join the military but are not required to do so. It’s not certain what month the order will go into effect.

The low birth rate and other factors in North Korea has officials concerned about the size of the military, the informant said, and lead to the coming guidelines.

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