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U.S. Congress calls for $2.1B on military spending in Pacific

By
Elizabeth Shim
Members of U.S. Congress are calling for an increase in military expenditures in the Asia-Pacific as North Korea continues to test missiles and China expands its navy. Photo by Shane A. Cuomo/ U.S. Air Force/UPI
Members of U.S. Congress are calling for an increase in military expenditures in the Asia-Pacific as North Korea continues to test missiles and China expands its navy. Photo by Shane A. Cuomo/ U.S. Air Force/UPI | License Photo

May 23 (UPI) -- The chairman of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee is calling for a $2.1 billion increase in military spending in the Pacific.

North Korea's weekly ballistic missile tests are putting Congress on edge, and Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, said he plans to seek a $2.1 billion increase in U.S. military expenditures to deter threats, CNN reported Monday.

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About $1 billion is being allocated to munitions and another $1 billion for missile defense, including Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, according to the report.

THAAD is already operational in central South Korea.

About $100 million is being apportioned to joint exercises with U.S. allies, and toward supporting a combat aviation brigade in South Korea that could respond to North Korean military provocations.

The call for a boost in military spending comes at a time when North Korea is accelerating the development of missiles.

Last week, Kim Jong Un urged North Korean scientists and technicians to "tighten the bootstraps of their minds, and make more powerful weapons of self-reliance," according to Pyongyang's Workers' Party newspaper Rodong Sinmun.

The Pentagon is also expected to officially endorse a proposed military budget from U.S. Senator John McCain, R-Ariz., also known as the Asia Pacific Stability Initiative.

The proposed budget could add $7.5 billion, according to CNN.

Both proposals may be welcome news for Navy Adm. Harry Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, who has expressed concern about reductions in staff.

Harris had said the Pacific Command needs more attack submarines and missile interceptors deployed to Hawaii.

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