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S.Korea's 2018 defense budget to rise most in 9 years

SEOUL, Aug. 29 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's defense budget in 2018 would rise the most in nine years to counter rising threats from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), financial ministry said Tuesday.

According to the 2018 budget plan submitted by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance to the National Assembly, a total of 43.12 trillion won (38.3 billion U.S. dollars) was allotted to the defense budget next year.

It was up 6.9 percent from the previous year, marking the fastest yearly increase since 2009.

Costs to improve defense readiness stood at 13.48 trillion won for the 2018 defense budget, up 10.5 percent from the previous year, while the military management costs would grow 5.3 percent to 29.64 trillion won.

Among the defense improvement costs, 4.36 trillion won would be spent next year on budget to counter the DPRK's nuclear and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) threats.

The 4.36 trillion won budget would be spent mainly on the so-called three pillars of the Korean version, including the Kill Chain, the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation (KMPR) systems.

The Kill Chain is designed to preemptively strike the DPRK's missile launch sites when signs of the first strike are spotted. The KMPR is a project to preemptively strike the DPRK's leadership and headquarters with massive missile attacks when Pyongyang's first strike signs are detected.

The KAMD is a project to develop its indigenous missile defense system to shoot down incoming DPRK missiles at multiple layers. The project includes the development of interceptors such as 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.

The growing defense budget followed the DPRK's tests in July of what it called an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Early Tuesday, Pyongyang fired an unidentified ballistic missile that flew over the Japanese territory. The missile test came just three days after the DPRK's test on Saturday of three short-range missiles.

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