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International relations

South Korea beefs up military muscle to counter threat from North

Defense spending rising fast, with missile and aircraft carrier programs underway

TOKYO -- The South Korean military recently conducted its first successful underwater test of a domestically developed submarine-launched ballistic missile. SLBMs are highly elusive strike weapons, since they can hide from reconnaissance satellites. The country has also embarked on building a 30,000-ton light aircraft carrier capable of accommodating F-35 stealth fighters.

A growing number of South Korean politicians are calling for the development of a nuclear-powered submarine. Seoul's military buildup raises some important strategic and geopolitical questions.

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