North Korea has bought weapons worth $65 million over the past five years despite severe food shortages, says a South Korean lawmaker. Kwon Young-Se said North Korea had previously spent about $13 million a year.
Mr Kwon, of South Korea's ruling Grand National Party, said his information came from intelligence sources, although this was not confirmed.
North Korea has one of the largest armies in the world, and about a quarter of its national income is believed to be spent on the military.
About 1.7 million people make up the armed forces in a country with a population of 23 million.
Correspondents say the North has not asked for food aid from Seoul this year, and has been bitterly critical of the conservative government which came to power in South Korea in February.