* Date : 2018-09-11
All eyes have fallen on South Korea's military exemption programme following draft waivers that were granted to gold-medal winning athletes at the 2018 Asian Games. Even members of the foreign media have zoomed in on the issue, over the fate of South Korean soccer stars plying their trade in leagues abroad. For soccer players based overseas, winning a gold medal was their only ticket to military exemption and an uninterrupted sporting career. However, these exemptions have triggered controversy and debate in political circles over the current criteria. Despite those who have excelled in international sporting and music competitions not being required to serve in the military, the same privileges have not been made available to K-pop stars like BTS which recently topped the billboard charts. Meanwhile, a Constitutional Court ruling in June ordered the government to provide alternative service measures for conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the military on ethical and religious grounds. Questions still remain on the exact boundaries which clearly define conscientious objection, and what occupations they could fulfill for how long, should alternative service measures become available. In this week's edition of "Foreign Correspondents", we sit down with our panel of foreign journalists to discuss in more detail, the various issues surrounding compulsory military service in South Korea.
Frank Smith, Correspondent / Press TV
Fabian Kretschmer, Journalist / Deutsche Welle
Frédéric Ojardias, Journalist / Radio France Internationale