South Korea's national debt rose by 39 trillion won about (US$35.9 billion) in 2014 from a year earlier as the government engaged in expansionary spending to prop up the weak economy, the finance ministry said Tuesday.
According to the 2014 settlement of accounts, the national debt that covers the central government's general and special accounts and funds reached 503 trillion won last year, up from 464 trillion won a year earlier.
The size of debt is equal to 33.9 percent of the nation's gross domestic product last year, up from 32.5 percent tallied for 2013, according to South Korea's (Yonhap) News Agency.
Counting regional government debts, the nation's general government debt soared to 530.5 trillion won last year, the ministry added.
"The national debt rose last year due to the operational budget balance deficit, a general spike in debt coupled with expansionary policies to vitalize the economy," said Noh Hyeong-ouk, deputy minister for fiscal affairs.
Public sector debt is used as an indicator for the fiscal soundness of a country's public sector and can be used to assess fiscal risk management.
The settlement of accounts, to be submitted to the National Assembly in late May, also showed net national assets standing at 543.3 trillion won last year, down 5.1 trillion won from 548.4 trillion won.