South Korea is opening its military service to North Korean defectors.

Officials are still studying the proposal and it remains an “idea” for South Korea’s Defence Ministry to promote a “multicultural” military. In the early 1990s, South Korea received about 3,600 North Koreans under the age of 20.

Under the current Military Service Act, children born to North Korean defectors in the South are able to join the service, while those who were born North and later defected are exempted.

The proposal was raised during discussions on diverse issues and the Military Manpower Administration will further reassess the situation.

South Korea’s military made recent changes to open up the service to non-Korean citizens, including those who have non-Asian ancestry. Changes were also made in the oath taken by recruits and officers, replacing the word “race” to “citizen”.