South Korea approved a proposal on Tuesday to shorten mandatory military service period by up to three months that will take effect from next month.
The Cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon, approved the defense ministry's offer to shorten the military service period over the coming years.
Starting in October, the service period will be gradually curtailed from 21 months to 18 months for the Army and the Marine Corps, from 23 months to 20 months for the Navy, and from 24 months to 22 months for the Air Force.
It was part of the military's reform measures, called the Defense Reform 2.0, to modernize the armed forces instead of reducing the number of troops.
The military aimed to cut the number of soldiers to half a million by 2022 from the current 625,000.