South Korean Marines take part in a landing operation drill. Photo: Reuters / Kim Hong-Ji

The US press has focused on South Korean efforts to train and equip a special military “decapitation” unit that would assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in the event of war.

But UPI is reporting that a national defense budget approved by the country’s National Assembly on Wednesday apportions only about US$312,800 for use by a special brigade that could be used to remove Kim from power if full-fledged hostilities erupt on the Korean peninsula.

The relatively paltry funds will reportedly be tapped to reinforce the unit and are deemed insufficient to equip it with a transport plane or helicopter to carry out its mission, according to UPI, which picked up the story from News 1 in South Korea.

Most of the special unit budget is going towards the purchase of soundproof headphones, biometric equipment, fluoroscopes and other technology that doesn’t fall into the military weapons category.

UPI reported that the appropriation for the unit is about 1% of the total US$24 million South Korean annual defense outlay for all special military units.

South Korea is expected to increase defense spending by 7% in 2018 to nearly US$40 billion.

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