Cursing South Korean soldiers gagged

Fri Aug 6, 2010 1:59am EDT
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SEOUL (Reuters Life!) - South Korean soldiers have been ordered to clean up their act, and cut out expletives.

Even as tensions simmer on the peninsula, top military brass have said there is no excuse for foul language, and rather the country's half a million soldiers should brush up on their knowledge of history.

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young ordered his staff this week to strengthen "language purification education" to combat verbal abuse within the military, local media on Friday quoted ministry officials as saying.

"These soldiers aren't teenagers," the Korea Herald quoted a senior ministry official as saying. "Once they are discharged in their 20s, they can't be constantly cursing their way through life. That's why we want to help clean up their language."

All South Korean men must serve a mandatory 24 months in the military. The two Koreas are still technically at war, as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

(Reporting by Yeojung Chang; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)