South Korea's military seeks 10-per-cent bump in spending in 2007
Sep 27, 2006, 15:16 GMT
Seoul - South Korea's National Defence Ministry on Wednesday proposed raising military spending by 10 per cent next year to 24.7 trillion won (26.4 billion dollars) at it seeks to increase its purchases of high-tech weaponry.
If the National Assembly approves the request, the sum would represent about 10 per cent of the 2007 national budget.
The request was made after the ministry announced plans last year to cut its troop levels from 680,000 to 500,000 by 2020 as it funnels more money to modern weaponry. The reforms are aimed at building up South Korea's self-defence capabilities and reducing its dependence on the US military.
The budget request reflects 'the need to improve the defence capabilities by strengthening of strategic forces and research and development projects,' the ministry said.
It requested a 17.5-per-cent jump in its budget for new weapons and defence research and development to 6.8 trillion won.
Among the weapons purchases planned were missiles, including precision bombs and torpedoes, and 20 fighter jets. The American aircraft maker Boeing is to supply the South Korean military with 40 F-15K fighter jets by the end of 2008.
The budget bump was requested as North and South Korea still find themselves legally in a state of war because an armistice and not a peace treaty ended the 1950-1953 Korean War. More than 1 million soldiers stand on either side of the neighbours' heavily fortified border.© 2006 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur