SEOUL — North Korean propaganda outlets blasted South Korea on Friday for increasing its defence budget for next year, calling it an outright violation of an inter-Korean military deal to reduce cross-border tensions.
Under the budget plan approved last Saturday, Seoul’s defence spending expanded 8.2 per cent on-year to around KRW46.7 trillion (US$41.6 billion), with much of the hike reserved for intensifying its preparedness against North Korea’s nuclear threats.
The spending plan came after South and North Korean military authorities agreed to reduce cross-border tensions in September on the sidelines of their leaders’ summit in Pyongyang.
"The defence budget increase represents an extreme version of two different dreams on one single bed in which the South Korean authorities smile and promise to improve relations on the surface but have a different dream behind the doors," Uriminzokkiri, a North Korean external propaganda outlet, said in a commentary.
"It should not act recklessly and should think deeply what consequences would come from the defence spending increase that will bring in the chilling wind for the improvement in inter-Korean relations," it added.
Meari, another North Korean propaganda outlet, also took a swipe at South Korea for its defence budget plan, calling it a "grave challenge" to a recent thawing mood on the Korean Peninsula.
"The South’s increase in the defence budget is an outright violation of North-South declarations and military agreements and also a grave challenging move that runs counter to the improvement in inter-Korean relations and the pacifying trend on the Korean Peninsula," it said in an article.— YONHAP