[Letters] Multicultural families, a blessing on societyReflecting globalization, multicultural families are increasing in Korean society. As a result, more and more people with multicultural backgrounds are joining the armed forces. At present, there are over 200 soldiers from multicultural families. There are nearly 190,000 immigrant women in international marriages, and the number of servicemen from multicultural families is expected to grow rapidly. There are military officials who marry immigrant women as well, so military and social attention and policy considerations are needed for the multicultural families. Thankfully, the soldiers from multicultural backgrounds get along with fellow Korean soldiers without much trouble.
In the rural and fishing villages, immigrant women have become integral parts of their communities and often take leadership roles. Many children from multicultural families have been selected as class presidents. However, some children grow up with their mother’s family or in another country, and are not accustomed to Korean culture. It would greatly help their military service experience if they were provided with opportunities for education and training in advance.
At present, the Military Manpower Administration and the ROK Armed Forces are working together to offer military experiences to those with permanent resident status in other countries. They receive education in Korean culture, language and military life at the Korea Army Training Center before joining the regular training. The authorities plan to develop a similar program for soldiers from multicultural families.
Multicultural family are a blessing on Korean society. Helping and accommodating them to complete the military service duty as the proud citizens of the Republic of Korea is a sure investment for the future. We need to expand national and social investment for their soft-landing.
*Commissioner of the Military Manpower Administration
By Kim Il-saeng