South Korea to up defence budget
Seoul: South Korea plans to sharply increase spending on defence next year, local media reported, as regional tensions mount following a North Korean artillery attack and differences between China and the United States.
The Korea Economic Daily said the government had proposed a 5.8 percent increase in the 2011 defence budget to about USD 27 billion to buy more self-propelled artillery and fighter-bombers, far more than the 3.6 percent rise this year.
It said Parliament could approve an even higher amount, given this week`s shelling by North Korean forces of a Southern island near the disputed maritime boundary.
Regional giant China, reclusive North Korea`s only major ally, has said it is determined to prevent an escalation of the violence but warned against military acts near its coast as US and South Korean forces prepared for exercises in the Yellow Sea.
North Korea, stepping up its rhetoric, said the four-day naval drills starting on Sunday risked pushing the region toward war.
The US military said the exercises, planned long before Tuesday`s attack, were designed to deter North Korea and were not aimed at China.
The United States is sending an aircraft carrier group led by the nuclear-powered USS George Washington for the manoeuvres with South Korea.
"We`ve routinely operated in waters off the Korean peninsula for years," said Captain Darryn James, a Pentagon spokesman. "These latest provocations have been by the North and they need to take ownership of those, not us."
Not a guy we can trust
US Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said North Korea`s nuclear ambitions and leader Kim Jong-Il`s unpredictability increased the threat of regional instability.
"It`s hard to know why China doesn`t push harder," Mullen told CNN television`s Fareed Zakaria GPS, in comments due to air on Sunday. "My sense is they try to control this guy. And I`m not sure he is controllable."
"He`s not a guy we can trust," Mullen said. "That`s why the leadership aspect of this from China is so important, because if any country has influence in Pyongyang, it`s China," he said.
North Korea has entered an unpredictable period of leadership transition with the elevation of Kim Jong-Il`s youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, in September to the rank of general -- in a clear sign he is the chosen successor.
Mullen has said he believes the artillery attack and the sinking in March of a South Korean warship, which the United States and South Korea blamed on the North, is likely linked to Kim Jong-Il`s "posturing" to allow the eventual succession.
Calling for calm after the attack, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met North Korean Ambassador Ji Jae Ryong in Beijing and talked by phone with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and South Korean Foreign Minister Kim Sung-hwan.
"The top priority now is to keep the situation under control and to ensure such events do not happen again," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
North Korean artillery shells rained down on the small South Korean island of Yeonpyeong on Tuesday, killing four people and destroying dozens of houses. South Korean troops fired back 13 minutes later, causing unknown damage.
"The situation on the Korean peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war due to the reckless plan of those trigger-happy elements to stage again war exercises targeted against (North Korea)," the North`s KCNA news agency said.
The language was typical of North Korean state media but the increasing tension depressed South Korea`s currency and its stock market, which both closed sharply lower on Friday.
"Investors are growing more jittery ahead of the joint military exercise," said Kim Hyoung-ryoul, a market analyst at NH Investment & Securities. "The key concern is whether North Korea will again take unforeseen, rash actions."
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- IAF Mirage fighter plane lands on Yamuna Expressway!
- 'Maggi' under regulatory scanner for excess amount of lead, MSG
- Watch: Michelle Obama's 'Gimme Five' fitness video
- When Subramanian Swamy shocked people at a wedding!
- Mumbaikars join hands to save Pakistani teen with rare illness
- Mumbai: Diamond export company denies job to Muslim youth
- Aapke Sitare: Astro prediction for May 21, 2015
- Mirage 2000 fighter jet landing was part of capability demonstration: IAF
- DNA: IAF Mirage 2000 fighter plane lands successfully on Yamuna expressway
- PM Modi speaks at Golden Jubilee celebrations of poet Dinkar’s works
- DNA: Osama documents show 'Indian brother in Madinah' financed al Qaeda
- ISIS executes Syrian fighter using anti-tank rocket launcher
- PM Modi's key campaign team member may join Nitish Kumar
- Woman robbed at gunpoint inside Hyderabad ATM
- Coal scam: Naveen Jindal, Madhu Koda and others get bail
- RBSE (rajresults.nic.in) Class 12th science and commerce results 2015: Rajasthan Board Class 12th XII exam results 2015 to be announced today at 4 PM
- CBSE Class 10 Results 2015 to be announced today?
- IAF jet lands on Yamuna expressway
- Check Jharkhand Board jac.nic.in: Class 12th Art Results 2015 declared
- Log on to apeamcet.org AP EAMCET Results 2015: Andhra Pradesh EAMCET Marks and AP EAMCET Ranks 2015 declared
- Fawad Khan doesn’t want intimate scenes with Sonam Kapoor?
- We hire only non-Muslim candidates, diamond export firm tells Muslim youth
- Is MSG in 'Maggi' noodles harmful for you?
- Mumbai firm booked for denying Muslim MBA graduate job on religious grounds, probe ordered
- New IPL rules could see Chennai Super Kings lose MS Dhoni
- 'IAS officer DK Ravi possibly committed suicide, suffered big loss in real estate business'
- Jayalalithaa makes public appearance, meets Governor: As it happened
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be announced today at 10 am
- SSLC (tnresults.nic.in) Tenth 10th Results 2015: Tamil Nadu Board Class 10th X Higher Secondary exam results 2015 to be announced shortly
- `Piku` hits jackpot, does Rs 100 crore business worldwide