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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About Korea

Digital Chosunilbo (English Edition) : Daily News in English About KoreaJapan Worried by Korean Defense Reform Plans
Japan appears worried about Korea’s defense reform plans including large-scale troop cuts and increases in spending on cutting-edge technology and has asked Korea’s Defense Ministry for details of the plan, according to a source.

"The Japanese Defense Department has, on a few occasions, informally requested explanation of the background and contents of the National Defense Reform Act,” a government source said. Tokyo appears to worry that the new-model submarines and Aegis combat vessels to be acquired under the plan could be a threat to the island country.

The source said Japan told Korea it had in the past provided similar information when Seoul asked it to.

But the Defense Ministry reportedly demurred until the reform bill has been amended and ratified by the National Assembly.

The plan, to be implemented in full by 2020, envisages reducing forces from 680,000 to 500,000 and supplying the Army, Navy, and Air Force with a variety of cutting-edge weaponry instead. An estimated W693 trillion (about US$693 billion) are to be spent over the next 15 years, W289 trillion of it on advanced hardware.

(englishnews@chosun.com )

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