S. Korea to use 24 tln-won R&D budget to bolster science, tech capability

SEOUL, Oct. 16 (Yonhap) — South Korea said Wednesday that it will use the 24 trillion-won (US$20 billion) research and development budget for next year to bolster its science and technology capability.

The Ministry of Science and ICT said it will strive to build up the country’s industrial sector to cope with Japan’s export curbs of key industrial materials critical for the production of semiconductors and flexible displays.

Last week, South Korea and Japan failed to reach an agreement in their first bilateral talks over Seoul’s complaint with the World Trade Organization over Tokyo’s export restrictions.

The ministry said it will use 1.72 trillion won to improve technological independence of key parts and on product testing capabilities that can allow South Korean manufacturers to switch to locally made goods and reduce their need for imports.

“The sharp increase in spending showcases the government’s firm resolve to tackle Japanese trade restrictions and other issues head on,” Kim Sung-soo, head of the ministry’s science and technology innovation office, told researchers.

In addition, the ministry said it will work closely with researchers to make sure certain adequate investments are funneled to promote bio health, future vehicles, system semiconductors, artificial intelligence and 5G network sectors.

The ministry said it will make efforts to receive feedback on the government R&D plans going forward and to implement plans to ensure researchers and labs are not being distracted by unnecessary administrative red tape and evaluation processes.

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