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S. Korea ups 2017 defense budget by 4 pct

All News 11:06 September 06, 2016

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has increased its defense budget for next year by 4 percent as it moves to beef up missile defense capabilities amid growing threats from North Korea, the defense ministry said Tuesday.

The government has allocated a total of 40.335 trillion won (US$36.5 billion) to bolstering the country's defensive capabilities in 2017, up from 38.799 trillion won set for this year, the Ministry of National Defense said in a statement.

"To counter the North's asymmetrical threats coming from its weapons of mass destruction, the country badly needs to build a Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system and 'kill chain' to detect, identify and intercept incoming missiles in the shortest possible time," a ministry official said.

Of the total budget, 12.159 trillion won will be spent to improve the country's existing aircraft and anti-missile capabilities and the remaining 28.176 trillion won will be injected as operating costs for troops and armaments, the statement said.

Starting with its fourth underground nuclear test in January, North Korea has escalated its saber-rattling this year by firing off numerous ballistic missiles, including those launched from a submarine.

Most recently, the isolated communist regime test-fired three ballistic missiles into the East Sea in a new show of force days ahead of the 68th anniversary of its government's establishment which falls on Friday.

The missiles -- determined to be upgraded mid-range Rodong missiles -- all flew about 1,000 kilometers and landed in waters some 400 km inside Japan's air defense identification zone in the East Sea. There was no prior warning issued by Pyongyang.

This undated graphic image shows the symbol of South Korea's defense ministry and a pile of bank notes against the background of the National Assembly. (Yonhap)


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