Defense budget 2019 of South Korea to reach about USD 42 bn

The South Korean government is increasing its national defense budget by 8.2% to about 42 billion U.S. dollars in 2019. It's the biggest yearly increase since 2008, and almost double the average annual increase of 4.4% from 2010 to 2017, reports.

Defense budget 2019 of South Korea to reach about USD 42 bn
K2 Black Panther MBT of the South Korean army (Picture source: Army Recognition)

The South Korean Ministry of National Defense says it received the same amount the government requested earlier this year, but some re-adjustments within the budget were made by lawmakers during the deliberation process. The ministry added the approval shows the National Assembly's firm support for a strong national defense posture.

The main part of the defense budget (about 28 bn USD) is dedicated to the maintenance of troops and military assets, a hike of 5.7% from 2018. The Defense ministry wants to improve training methods as well as upgrading uniforms and combat gear to bring them in line with cutting-edge military technology. Troops will also get more medical support, receive better training, and living conditions in barracks will be enhanced.

About 14 billion dollars will be spent on the development and improvement of defense capabilities, such as the acquisition of state-of-the-art weaponry like aircraft and naval destroyers. This category saw a more than 13% increase compared to the last budget.

About 4.5 billion dollars will be spent on establishing the three-pronged military strategy to counter North Korean threats, as well as future unknown threats. They are namely the Kill Chain pre-emptive strike system, the Korean Air and Missile Defense system, and the Korea Massive Punishment and Retaliation strategy.

Another4.7 billion dollars will be dedicated to strengthening the command control system, in line with preparations for the transfer of wartime operational control from Washington to Seoul.

About 9 million dollars will be allocated for the implementation of the inter-Korean military agreement, such as the removal of some front-line guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone.

Another 10 million dollars will be set aside for projects linked to the recovery of Korean War remains.