President Moon Jae-in says the goal of the country's strong defense capacity is peace calling the defense industry an important axis that protects people's lives and assets.
He spoke on Wednesday as he visited the Aerospace & Defense Exhibition or ADEX 2021 the country's largest defense expo.
The president's remarks come just hours after North Korea said it successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine.
"A strong defense capability is always aimed at ensuring peace. South Korea seeks to build smart and strong forces based on state-of-the-art technology, and will make efforts to build peace with the world."
Running until Saturday, the biennial event has brought together some 440 companies from 28 countries showcasing 79 types of aircraft and 68 types of ground equipment.
Those include next-generation fighter jets, drones and laser weapons systems.
President Moon said that South Korea must become a pace-setter reaffirming that over 80 percent of the budget for boosting defense capability will be spent on locally-made weapons and hardware over the next five years.
He also highlighted South Korea's potential in the aerospace industry noting that the country will launch its first independently developed rocket on Thursday.
The country aims to rank seventh in the global aerospace sector by 2030.
"Last July, South Korea made a stride toward the space era through the successful combustion test of a solid-propellant engine for a space rocket. Tomorrow, we will launch the independently developed Nuri rocket, carrying a dummy satellite. The government will focus on transferring technologies to the private sector and securing key technologies to become a space powerhouse and fostering the private space sector."
President Moon arrived at the exhibition in a South Korean-made FA-50 jet fighter likely to show the safety and excellence of the domestic aircraft.
The top office said Moon flew over the Seoul National Cemetery and War Memorial of Korea. reflecting his desire for peace on the Korean Peninsula. and not to experience war again.
Kim Min-ji, Arirang News.