Image: Yonhap News
The South Korean military on Tuesday began accepting applications from men who want to substitute mandatory military service for other public services due to religious or personal beliefs.
The first group of people to serve the alternative duty will be drafted in October.
All able-bodied South Korean men must carry out about two years of military service as the country faces North Korea across one of the world's most heavily fortified borders.
By law, violators are punished with prison terms.
In December, the National Assembly passed a bill allowing "conscientious objectors" to instead do 36 months of alternative service at local correctional facilities.
A 29-member committee was launched last week to review the applications.
Mo Jong-hwa, head of the Military Mandatory Administration said his agency "will guarantee the independence of the committee's review and decision process and make sure the new system can take root as soon as possible through a strict and fair screening."
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