Seoul: South Korea has announced a ‘Defence Plan’ worth $250 billion including an indigenously built aircraft carrier, against the background of nuclear capabilities of North Korea and the increasing Chinese marine ambitions. In this plan prepared for the period 2021 to 2025, it is recommended to increase the defence expenditure by 6% every year. A few months ago, Japan started work on two aircraft carriers and Singapore also has indicated developing one.
On Monday, the South Korean Ministry of National Defense published ‘Mid-term Defence Acquisition Plan.’ This includes a proposal to build an aircraft carrier with 30,000 tonnes capacity. Besides, the planning work has been assigned to Hyundai Heavy Industries. The new aircraft carrier will be built, based on the indigenously developed Dokdo Class Amphibious Assault Ship. The ‘Defence Plan’ informs that fighter jets with the capability of vertical take-off and landing (VTOL). Moreover, attack helicopters will be deployed on the new aircraft carrier. The Ministry of National Defense expressed a hope that this aircraft carrier from the light aircraft carrier class will be inducted in the South Korean Navy by the year 2030.
The United States and South Korea had signed a military agreement after the Korean War between 1950-60. As per the agreement, South Korea handed over the responsibility of the country’s security to the United States. Currently, there are nearly 28,000 US soldiers at the South Korean military bases. As per the agreement, the United States would assume control of the South Korea Armed Forces in case of war. There are indications that the control will once again be in the hands of South Korea from 2022. Against this background, the defence plan announced by the South Korean Ministry of National Defense becomes significant.