S. Korea raises defense budget as DPRK advances nuke tech

| Updated: Aug 30, 2016 22:08 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Aug. 30 (ANI): South Korea has raised its 2017 defense budget to speed up efforts at building its homegrown missile defense system as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) continues to advance its nuclear and missile technologies. The allotted defense budget for 2017 was 40.33 trillion won (36.1 billion U.S. dollars), up by four percent from the previous year, according to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, reports Xinhua. The budget bill is, however, to be approved by the National Assembly after which it would surpass 40 trillion won for the first time. The budget to build the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), the country's indigenous missile defense system, reached 533.1 billion won in 2017, up 40.5 percent from previous year. The KAMD, which Seoul's military aims to deploy by mid-2020s, consists of medium-range surface-to-air missile, long-range surface-to-air missiles, U.S. Patriot missiles and early-warning radars to shoot down DPRK missiles at a terminal phase. The acceleration in the KAMD development came after DPRK's fourth nuclear test in January and the launch of a long-range rocket in February. The budget for Korea Fighter eXperimental (KF-X), the country's development program for homegrown combat aircrafts, surged to 303 billion won in 2017 from 67 billion won in 2016. The KF-X is South Korea's largest-ever defense project in which 17.6 trillion won will be spent to complete development by 2025 and 120 next-generation homegrown fighter jets would be deployed by 2032. Welfare budget for soldiers increased 4.5 percent from the previous year to 17.15 trillion won for next year. (ANI)