SEOUL, South Korea's foreign ministry said Tuesday it has proposed a 5.2 percent hike in next year's budget for programs related to the protection of its nationals residing or traveling abroad.

It pointed out that the number of crimes, accidents and other incidents involving them jumped to more than 18,400 in 2017. This makes a daily average of around 50 cases.

The number of outbound South Korean travelers exceeded 26.5 million last year.

In its budget plan submitted to the National Assembly, the ministry said it would increase relevant spending to 11.7 billion won (US$10 million), up 5.2 percent from this year.

It's seeking to hire 20 more consular officials at diplomatic missions in foreign countries.

It will also provide a Vietnamese language service through its "consular call center," adding to English, Japanese, Chinese, Spanish and French.

The move reflects the growth in the number of Koreans visiting Southeast Asian nations.

The ministry plans to use 777 million won for campaigns to enhance public understanding of safety measures, up from 694 million won this year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency