Seoul’s defense budget to top 50-trillion KRW mark with a third allocated on improving…

Seoul’s defense budget to top 50-trillion KRW mark with a third allocated on improving…


The 2020 budget will see a big boost to spending
on defense and diplomacy. There’s a lot to work on in particular in
foreign affairs, so the budget reflects that. Lee Ji-won explains. South Korea’s Defense Ministry is seeking
a 41 billion U.S. dollar budget for 2020 a 7-point-4 percent increase on this year’s
budget. It’s the first time the budget would break
the 50-trillion Korean won mark, which the ministry says is significant as it is getting
slightly closer to the defense budgets of Seoul’s neighbors. There’s a big focus on the improvement of
defense capabilities, which takes up a third of the entire budget. And in that spending, the ministry has allocated
12 billion dollars to advanced weapons systems and technology,… including plans to take
a leading response against threats from nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. The ministry said it also plans to invest
in the improvement of a large-scale transport ship. And in an effort to develop the local defense
industry, the ministry also plans to raise its research and development budget by 20-point-7
percent to 3-point-2-billion dollars. More has also been allocated to improve soldiers’
basic wages and conditions. For example, a sergeant who now receives 335
dollars a month, will be getting 446 dollars next year, if all goes as planned. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is looking
for an 11-point-five percent budget hike, bringing its budget for 2020 to 2-point-2-5
billion dollars. The hike is more than double the increase
the ministry has seen in recent years, as South Korea’s diplomacy faces many challenges. The ministry will allocate 1-point-four million
dollars on boosting its government, public and private sector analysis network to prepare
for the risks from political changes, especially the U.S.-China trade war. It will also spend 4-point-2 million dollars,
a 330 percent increase, on strengthening its diplomatic network with and within Japan,
including hosting forums and inviting high-level figures. The ministry also announced plans to raise
its funding for internation al organizations and for Official Development
Assistance by 134-million dollars to 1-point-17 billion dollars. The Unification Ministry aims to have its
budget raised to 1-point-18 billion dollars. While the budget for general accounting, which
includes helping North Korean defectors and preparing for inter-Korean summits, saw a
slight decrease,… the fund for inter-Korean joint projects went up over 10-percent, to
1 billion dollars. This includes forestation projects, humanitarian
aid and the efforts to link and modernize railways and roads between the two sides. “Through these, the Unification ministry says
it seeks to focus on realizing inter-Korean economic cooperation, and growing consensus
on the peace process. Lee Ji-won, Arirang News.”

Danny Hutson

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