ROK spends 5.6 pct of inter-Korean cooperation fund

According to Yonhap:

South Korea has spent only 5.6 percent of its funds earmarked for promoting humanitarian and economic ties with North Korea this year, the unification ministry said Sunday, as inter-Korean relations tumbled to their worst in decades.

As of the end of November, the ministry said it had endorsed spending worth some 62.6 billion won (US$54.4 million) from its South-North Cooperation Fund, or 5.6 percent of the total allocated for this year.

Just over half the sum, or about 32.8 billion won, went toward financing loans for inter-Korean trade and economic cooperation, while another 27.8 billion won was spent on improving exchanges among families separated across the border and other humanitarian projects.

The low spending rate apparently reflects the ban on cross-border exchanges following the deadly March sinking of a South Korean warship, blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack, and escalated tensions on the peninsula since the North’s artillery attack on a southern island last month.

The fund’s implementation rate ranged from 37 to 92.5 percent between 2000 and 2007, but nosedived after President Lee Myung-bak took power in 2008 with a hard-line policy on the North. That year, the rate stood at 18.1 percent before dropping further to 8.6 percent in 2009.

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S. Korea spends 5.6 pct of inter-Korean cooperation fund


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