South Korea has increased its defense budget to 40.34 trillion won (US$34 billion) for 2017 from 38.8 trillion won ( US$33 billion) in 2016 to counter the threats from North Korea.
“The government has increased the budget by 4 percent,” the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement Monday.
The annual defense budget exceeded 40 trillion won for the first time ever and accounts for 10 percent of the country's overall budget worth 400.5 trillion won for next year, the ministry said.
From the total budget, about 28.14 trillion won will be spent on operating military forces and facilities, with 12.2 trillion won set aside to bolster combat capabilities.
The Ministry of National Defense in June this year had actually requested a 40.87 trillion won ($35.1 billion) defense budget for 2017. It had marked a 5.3 percent increase from 38.8 trillion won in 2016, The Korea Herald reported earlier.
According to the budget request submitted to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, the ministry's plans were to spend 12.48 trillion won on enhancing its defensive capabilities, up to 7.2 percent from this year.
About 1.6 trillion won was planned to be spent specifically on establishing the Korean Air and Missile Defense and Kill Chain systems against the North’s ballistic missiles, which is aimed to be complete by the mid-2020s.
The boosted budget plan also includes establishing missile defense systems against the North Korean missile threats. This is also the key component of the annually announced five-year defense plans and to bolster welfare of the troops.
The indigenous defense system is part of Seoul’s plan to boost its self-defense capacities before South Korea’s regains wartime operation control of its troops from Washington.
The OPCON transition, originally slated to take place in 2012, was delayed multiple times before the allies agreed on a conditional transfer around mid-2020s.
About 7.8 percent of the budget is allocated to research and development, including the ongoing KF-X project to develop the country’s first homegrown fighter jets.
Other plans included were completing fortification of the military camps located in the islands near the de facto maritime inter-Korea borders in the West Sea and paving some 57 kilometer of road for strategic purposes.
The Defense Ministry will coordinate with the Finance Ministry to confirm the budgets, which will be presented to the National Assembly for approval early September.
North Korea has carried two nuclear tests in January and September, and launched more than 20 missiles this year alone.
North Korea has conducted a large-scale artillery drill that involved multiple batteries of frontline heavy artillery units, simulating an attack on the South Korean capital and other targets. The military exercise organized by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un comes after Seoul and Tokyo unveiled fresh unilateral sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons program
South Korea has launched its first combat support ship 'Soyang' which is capable of carrying 1,050 tons of stores that is nearly 2.3 times larger than what can be taken on by existing support vessels
South Korea's trainer jet has taken its first test flight in US last week after both the countries agreed to mutually recognize its airworthiness certification in September. On 19 November, the 'T-X' trainer, a modified version of the T-50 planes in service with the South Korean Air Force, showed off its flight performance as a candidate to replace the existing jets operated by the US Air Force, the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) said in a statement Thursday
South Korea on Tuesday has approved intelligence sharing pact with Japan, known as General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to counter nuclear and missile threats from North Korea. The discussion on the controversial intellegence sharing pact was resumed on October 27 after four years gap
South Korea claims Japan did not adhere to a bilateral intelligence-sharing pact signed last month, as it didnt share any intelligence on Pyongyang's recent test of a submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). "We have found that the North carried out a land-based experiment on an SLBM, but there is no information that we have received from the Japanese side regarding the test," the source declining to be identified told Yonhap Thursday
South Korea has unveiled a list of 60 submarine components Thursday that need to be banned from reaching North Korea. This is a follow-up step after the United Nations adopted a new round of sanctions over Pyongyang's latest nuclear test,
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