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Report: North Korea taking steps to block draft evaders

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NewsHubNorth Korea is imposing tough new measures to discourage young men from avoiding military conscription.
Pyongyang authorities are conducting physical exams of eligible North Koreans at schools to prevent draft evasion, according to Japan-based news service Asia Press.
“If there are currently 10 soldiers being discharged from the military, only eight soldiers are being recruited to replace them, leading to difficulties in maintaining military power,” the report stated.
A source in North Korea told Asia Press military recruiting typically begins in the spring, but recently the “military recruitment department has been going around to schools and conducting physical exams of students. ”
“They are rushing the exams in order to prevent parents who do not want to send their children to the military,” the source said.
Mandatory military service in North Korea lasts 13 years, and the eligible population have a “weak physique” owing to a poor diet in their formative years.
Many endured starvation and struggle with malnutrition if they were born in the ’90s, when the country was coping with a disastrous famine that left as many as millions dead.
Once in the service, North Korean soldiers often suffer from malnutrition, and desertion is becoming increasingly common, according to the Japanese press report.
Bribery is often used as a method by parents to prevent their children from military recruitment, the source also said.
In December, sources in the country said a diarrhea outbreak affected a North Korean unit of border guards, possibly due to consumption of spoiled foods provided to the soldiers as a “gift from Kim Jong Un. ”
Kim recently made his first public visit of 2017 with the military, where he focused on their needs and praised their defense posture, according to KCNA.

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