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Tuesday, July 05, 2005

South Korea's Military takes President at his Word

And in doing so have asked for a massive spending increase.

South Korea's Defense Ministry has requested a 12 percent hike in the defense budget for next year despite economic woes, officials said Tuesday.

Under the budget proposal submitted to the Ministry of Planning and Budget, the military seeks to secure 23.3 trillion won ($22.5 billion) in 2006, up from 20 trillion won this year.

The increase is necessary for a push to promote the cooperative self-reliant defense posture, the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry plans to spend 8.3 trillion won, or 35.8 percent of the total defense budget, to build up the military's capacity in 2006, up from 33.9 percent this year, it said.

The plan is aimed at realizing President Roh Moo-hyun's pledge to seek a self-reliant defense posture amid the United States' downsizing of its military presence in South Korea, officials said.

Now we'll find out if the President meant what he said. It is easy to talk, much harder when hands are out for the cash.