S. Korea's defense spending for 2018 gets rare hike in parliament

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2017-12-06 11:30 Updated : 2017-12-06 11:30
글씨작게 글씨크게

Korea Tactical Surface-to-Surface Missile (KTSSM)[Courtesy of the Agency for Defense Development]

South Korea's military spending for 2018 will grow seven percent on-year, the biggest increase in nine years, reflecting growing threats from North Korean missiles and nuclear weapons.

Next year's military expenditures were set at 43.2 trillion won (39.7 billion US dollars), or ten percent of the government's total budget of 428.8 trillion won, which was approved by parliament on early Thursday. It marked the highest increase since 2009 when the defense ministry's budget saw an 8.7 percent.

Originally, the ministry proposed 40.4 billion won, but lawmakers raised it during a parliamentary review in a rare move that followed the November 29 launch of a North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile capable of hitting the entire U.S. mainland.

It was the first time that defense spending has been hiked in parliament since 2011 when cross-border tensions ran high following North Korea's artillery attack on South Korea's front-line Yeonpyeong Island in November 2010 that killed four people and briefly triggering concerns of a full-scale conflict.

Military expenditures have been the target of frequent debate and curtailment in parliament. This year, legislators readily approved an increase in spending on purchasing and developing advanced weapons.