SEOUL-- South Korea's defense chief said Sunday the military will upgrade its Patriot missile system to help defend Seoul and nearby areas from North Korea's growing threats.

Defense Minister Song Young-moo also reaffirmed a plan to establish the country's own missile defense networks, called the Korea Air and Missile Defense (KAMD), at an early date.

"North Korea's firing of an ICBM-class ballistic missile two days ago is a reckless provocation threatening the Korean Peninsula and the international community," he said, inspecting a local Patriot battery, according to his ministry.

It did not reveal the exact location apparently due to security- and intelligence-related reasons.

Song called for full combat readiness to counter the North's missile provocations and retaliate in a stern manner, the ministry added.

In particular, the minister said, South Korea will beef up its air defense capability for Seoul and Gyeonggi Province, which has a total population of around 20 million, through upgrades to Patriot missiles.

The North has various-range ballistic missiles, including a Scud type, plus a barrage of artillery systems deployed right north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The capital city situated just some 50 kilometers away from the DMZ is within range.

Source: Yonhap News Agency