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S. Korean president vows to raise defense budget to 2.9 pct of GDP in next 5 years
BY 2017-07-19 09:02:54

SEOUL, July 18 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Moon Jae-in vowed Tuesday to raise the country's defense budget to 2.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) from the current 2.4 percent within his five-year presidency.

Moon made the remarks during his meeting with top military commanders, including current and former defense ministers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and chiefs of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, presidential spokesman Park Soo-hyun said in a press briefing.

About 40.3 trillion won (35.9 billion U.S. dollars) was allocated to this year's defense budget of South Korea. It could rise to as much as 50 trillion won in the next five years of Moon's presidency. Moon took office on May 10.

Moon said his government will seek dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but he noted that it would have no meaning unless the dialogue is based on an overwhelming defense capability.

South Korea offered on Monday to the DPRK for holding talks about military affairs to stop all hostile acts near the military demarcation line (MDL) that divides the two Koreas.

Seoul requested the dialogue would be held on Friday at Tongilgak, a building in the DPRK side of the truce village of Panmunjom.

Moon added that the national defense was a matter of life and death, stressing the importance of national defense and security amid the continuing DPRK provocations.

Earlier this month, the DPRK announced its successful test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that flew about 930 km and was lofted as high as around 2,800 km.

(Editor:Li Zhaoqi) (From:xinhua)
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