SEOUL, May 4 (Xinhua) — South Korean Defense Minister Han Min- koo said on Wednesday that his country's military buildup will be focused on countering the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)'s nuclear devices and ballistic missiles.

Han told a forum, hosted by a local cable news channel Channel A, that a paradigm shift in military buildup will be made in a way that puts top priority on securing military power to counter the DPRK's "asymmetric threats" such as nuclear weapons and missiles.

The defense chief said there was recognition among the general public that the military depended on the United States for national defense as it had no proper military armaments to respond to the DPRK's threats.

He said there was also recognition that South Korea has spent much more in national defense than the DPRK but failed to properly respond to the DPRK's threats, noting that distrust was widespread in the military buildup.

As of 2013, the DPRK's defense budget reached some 10 billion U. S. dollars, nearly one third of South Korea's defense costs, according to the minister's estimate.

Han said the military will reinforce the Kill Chain system foremost and continue to beef up the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD) system, noting that military armaments for conventional warfare will be gradually strengthened.

The Kill Chain and the KAMD are South Korea's indigenous missile defense programs aimed at preemptively detecting and destroying nuclear and missile threats from the DPRK.

Seoul plans to operate the programs from the mid-2020s.