SEOUL, Nov. 18 (Yonhap) — Over 80 percent of South Korea’s 100 trillion won (US$90 billion) budget set aside for boosting defense capabilities over the next five years will be spent on buying locally made weapons and hardware, rather than imports, to help boost the local defense industry, Defense Minister Suh Wook said Wednesday.

Suh made the remark in a congratulatory message at a defense expo, DX Korea 2020, held in Goyang, just northwest of Seoul, calling the industry a driving force for economic growth and a basis for strong national defense.

In August, the government announced a defense blueprint for 2021 to 2025 to spend a combined 300 trillion won, with a third of the total allocated for improving defense capabilities. The remainder was set aside for force management.

“We will actively push for policies to nurture the defense industry and beef up tech cooperation between the private sector and the military for development of eight core defense strategic technologies, including the intelligent command and control system,” the minister said.

Hosted by the Association of the Republic of Korea Army, the three-day expo, which will run through Friday, specializes in displaying land forces equipment with the participation of some 200 companies from 11 countries, organizers said.

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