President of South Korea Moon Jae-in has indicated his intent to increase the country's defense budget from 2.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 2.9 percent during his five-year presidential term, local media reported Tuesday.
MOSCOW (Sputnik) — During his meeting with South Korean top military officials, President Moon called for the enhancement of defense readiness, according to Yonhap news agency. The country's leader also stressed the importance of the economy and defense for national well-being.
"There are many pillars that help sustain a nation and the most important of them all are defense and economy," Moon was quoted as saying by the media outlet.
Moon also noted that the issues of defense and security have become even more important now due to North Korea's persistent provocations.
"The new government seeks to hold a dialogue with North Korea, but the talks will only be in vain unless supported by overwhelming defense capabilities," the president added.
Tensions between Seoul and Pyongyang have risen in the recent years amid North Korea's nuclear tests and the launching of ballistic missiles, conducted in violation of the UN Security Council’s resolutions.
The recent test took place on July 4, with North Korea announcing a successful launch of the Hwasong-14, its first intercontinental ballistic missile. The Hwasong-14 made a 39-minute flight over 580 miles, reaching a maximum altitude of 1,741 miles.