Seoul to increase defence budget after Pyongyang threats

Seoul, Oct 24 (IANS) South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday stressed the urgency to increase the country’s defence budget in response to the fast-advancing nuclear capability of North Korea.

Park, in her parliamentary speech for the 2017 budget plan, said Pyongyang was set to enter a phase of nuclear weapons beyond the nuclear device test stage having conducted three atomic bomb tests after top leader Kim Jong-un assumed power in late 2011, Xinhua news agency reported.

To respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, Park said the government will make all-out efforts to secure core defence capabilities such as the Kill Chain, the Korea Air and Missile Defence (KAMD) and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems.

Tensions mounted on the Korean peninsula after North Korea’s fifth nuclear detonation on September 9 when the country’s state media reported the successful test of a nuclear warhead that can fit on ballistic missiles.

Pyongyang claimed to have succeeded in standardising a nuclear warhead beyond the miniaturised warhead, indicating its massive production of nuclear warheads for various types of its ballistic missiles.

South Korea’s government and the ruling party agreed last week to speed up the development of the three missile defence and preemptive strike systems by aiming to bring forward their introduction to the early 2020s from the previous goal of the mid-2020s.

The KAMD is a project to develop its indigenous missile defence system to shoot down incoming North Korean missiles at multiple layers.

The project includes the development of interceptors, including medium-range surface-to-air missiles (M-SAM) and long-range surface-to-air missiles (L-SAM) that can intercept missiles at an altitude of less than 100 km.