SEOUL: South Korea will increase defense spending by an average of 7.5 percent each year over the next five years with a focus on building “independent capabilities to counter threats from all directions,” Seoul’s defense ministry said Friday.
The ministry announced its defense blueprint for the 2019-2023 period, during which it wants to spend 270.7 trillion won (US$241.9 billion) — 94.1 trillion won on improving defense capabilities and the rest on managing troops, equipment and facilities.
Under the plan, the ministry seeks to increase the country’s defense budget, which stands at 46.7 trillion won this year, to 50.3 trillion won for 2020, 54.1 trillion won for 2021, 57.8 trillion won for 2022 and 61.8 trillion won for 2023.
During the five-year period, the average annual increase rate amounts to 7.5 percent, compared with an average of 4.9 percent over the last decade. The spending plan, which will go through an internal review by the finance ministry, is subject to parliamentary approval.
From this year through 2023, the ministry hopes to increase the annual budget for strengthening defense capabilities by an average of 10.8 percent and that for force management by an average of 5.8 percent.
The cost of enhancing defense capabilities accounts for 32.9 percent of this year’s total defense budget. The ministry seeks to expand that proportion to 36.5 percent in 2023.
“The ministry has decided to focus on building independent defense capabilities while reasonably adjusting the force management cost by redesigning the personnel management structure and enhancing operational efficiency,” the ministry said in a press release.
Bears growl at Hong Kong bourse
HONG KONG: Shares fell more than one percent Tuesday, hit by concerns over rising Iran-US tensions and as investors await this week’s crucial trade talks between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping.
The Hang Seng Index sank 1.15 percent, or 327.02 points, to 28,185.98. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.87 percent or 26.07 points,
to 2,982.07, while the Shenzhen Composite Index, which tracks stocks on China’s second exchange, lost 0.99 percent, or 15.63 points, to 1,560.46.
Pak role in Afghan peace process lauded by SG of NATO
BRUSSELS: Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg during a meeting with Pakistani FM Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi has noted that Pakistan had played a positive role in regional peace.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that NATO wanted to work with Pakistan on bilateral understanding.
GS NATO and FM Pakistan profoundly discussed security matters being faced by Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Kashmir.
Relevant pieces published earlier:
BRUSSELS: Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Foreign Minister (FM) of Pakistan, has arrived here today on a two-day official visit.
Here he will be signing a comprehensive strategic plan with EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. He will also meet NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at its headquarters in Brussels.
ISLAMABAD: FM Shah Mehmood Qureshi has informed that a strategic plan had been agreed with the European Union (EU).
FM said this while talking to the journalists here today before leaving for Brussels. FM further told that he would sign this agreement with EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini. Terming it a positive development Qureshi said it would begin long-term cooperation with the EU.
Qureshi, who is scheduled to meet NATO General Secretary at its headquarters in Brussels, said Pakistan had been cooperating with NATO and extended unprecedented help to US and NATO forces in matters pertaining to Afghanistan. FM reiterated that Pakistan had played a key role in the war against terrorism and NATO had acknowledged that fact.
Krish Das discusses Master of Sc. in Journalism program (VIDEO AND TEXT)
KARACHI: Krish Das, the US Consulate General’s spokesman here, and Dr. Larry Pintak, founding dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and member of the advisory board of the Center of Excellence in Journalism (CEJ) discuss the CEJ and its various programs including the Master of Science in Journalism.
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