South Korea to expand its marine corpsBy IANS
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
SEOUL - South Korea’s military is seeking to increase its marines’ numbers by up to 2,000 soldiers, local media reported Tuesday, citing government sources.
The step comes as part of efforts to enhance defence capability for five islands near the disputed western maritime border with North Korea, Xinhua reported Tuesday.
If finalised, the move will increase the size of the marine corps to some 29,000 from the current 27,000. Newly added troops will be assigned the task of defending the five islands off the country’s west coast.
South Korea has bolstered forces and military arsenal off the west coast since one of its frontline islands was shelled by North Korea troops last November, in which two marines and two civilians were killed.
The military is also reviewing restructuring the size of its army.
The defence ministry intends to report to President Cheong Wa Dae’s office this month its plans to further bolster defence capability for the five islands off the country’s west coast, local media reported, citing government sources.