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Gov't to postpone 6-million-dollar aid to N. Korea’s population census  

Gov't to postpone 6-million-dollar aid to N. Korea’s population census  

Posted August. 01, 2017 09:22,   

Updated August. 01, 2017 09:31


It is confirmed that the government has decided to delay to provide financial support of 6 million dollars via the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) at the request of North Korean government for next year’s population census. It appears that Seoul made such decision after considering that funds should not be provided to Pyongyang in any way under the circumstance that its leader additionally test-fired Hwasong-14 ICBM.

An official of the Unification Ministry told the Dong-A Ilbo on Monday over the phone that the decision on providing financial aid to North Korea has been postponed at a time of strained political situations. "It is very difficult to decide (to help the North financially) now," the official said. "The UNFPA understands our decision.” The UNFPA, which begins the annual census activity in North Korea in October, had been waiting for the answer of South Korean government.

The Ministry of Unification has been discussing the issue with the UNFPA since early this year and was strongly considering the contribution. South Korea accounts for one-third of the total investigation cost. Hence, North Korea cannot practically conduct the census if the government rejects to provide funding. The government contributed about 4million dollars in aid to the North for the same reason in 2008. Back then, the situation was completely different as the aid was provided right after the second Inter-Korean summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and the late South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com