Seoul alters DPRK budget priorities

According to Yonhap:

Under the Unification Ministry’s budget plan for next year, the inter-Korean economic cooperation fund, aimed at promoting cross-border human exchanges and economic partnerships, will increase 8.6 percent to 1.5 trillion won from 1.3 trillion won this year.

The budget for humanitarian assistance accounts for 72 percent of the fund, a sharp rise from 43 percent this year, mainly attributable to hikes in rice and fertilizer prices, said the ministry in change of policy on North Korea.

“We plan to send 400,000 tons of rice and 300,000 tons of fertilizer to North Korea if needed,” Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-ho told reporters.

The ministry has allocated 352 billion won to send rice and 291 billion won for fertilizer aid, he added.

The budget for inter-Korean economic projects, however, has been halved to 300 billion won in accordance with the Lee administration’s policy of linking them with progress in efforts to denuclearize the North, economic feasibility, financial capacity, and public opinion.

Meanwhile, the ministry has created a separate account for denuclearization costs in the inter-Korean cooperation fund, a measure to take into effect on Friday, a day after the second anniversary of North Korea’s nuclear test.

South Korea has delivered fuel oil and energy-related materials to North Korea under an aid-for-denuclearization deal last year in the six-way nuclear talks. Related spending has been categorized as energy aid.

Read the full article here:
S. Korea budgets $460 million for rice, fertilizer aid to N. Korea


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