Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, North Korea’s military is rushing to identify potential recruits for next year as a part of efforts to fight draft dodging, Daily NK has learned. 

Daily NK sources reported that the authorities have already begun creating lists of potential recruits from among students who are currently in their fifth year of high school.

“The authorities typically begin identifying recruits for next year once the enlistment process is over in March or April,” a North Hamgyong Province-based source told Daily NK on Apr. 13. “Despite the state of emergency due to the pandemic, the authorities are nonetheless moving forward with identifying next year’s recruits.” 

High school teachers reportedly visited the homes of students from Mar. 9 to Mar. 18 as part of efforts to identify potential recruits.

“Because of the pandemic, teachers contacted the students first to make it sure it would be ok to visit them and inform them about their enlistment in the military. Students signed a written statement saying that they agreed to move forward with the recruitment process,” one source told Daily NK.

The government’s move to quickly identify potential recruits for next year is likely aimed at trying to prevent students from avoiding military service, Daily NK sources said.

*Translated by Violet Kim

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Jong So Yong is one of Daily NK's freelance reporters. Questions about her articles can be directed to