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Iran Press TV

South Korea 'to boost defense' amid North 'threats'

Iran Press TV

Tue Oct 27, 2015 5:52AM

South Korean President Park Geun-Hye has pledged to strengthen her country's defense capabilities against possible future "provocations" by neighboring North Korea.

Park made the remarks during an annual budget address at the National Assembly in the capital, Seoul, on Tuesday.

"We will drastically beef up our defense capability… in order to effectively respond to potential provocations by the North and other security threats around the Korean Peninsula," she said.

The South Korean leader said Seoul planned to increase defense spending for next year by four percent to 39 trillion wons (34.5 billion dollars), which is higher than the country's current overall budget growth rate of three percent.

Working to continue reunions

South and North Korea went through a cycle of escalated tension following a landmine explosion that left two South Korean soldiers wounded back in August. After the incident, the two neighbors warned of a possible armed confrontation.

Park did say in her Tuesday remarks, however, that Seoul would try to work with Pyongyang to increase the frequency of reunions for hundreds of families separated by the 1950-1953 Korean War.

"The government will make all possible efforts to hold the reunions on a regular basis and allow the separated families to check whether their relatives are alive," the South Korean president said.

The last family reunion ended on October 26 after some 400 South Koreans left the resort of Mount Kumgang, where they had been visiting relatives in North Korea.

The Korean War divided the peninsula and left millions of people displaced and many families permanently separated.

The conflict concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, which means the two Koreas technically remain at war.

Direct exchanges of letters or telephone calls are prohibited.

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