The government will increase the inter-Korean cooperation fund by 14.4 percent, 62.4 billion won this year to some 1.1 trillion won next year. It has been three years since the cooperation fund exceeded 1 trillion won.
In the Unification Ministry's 2019 budget announced by the government on Tuesday, 504.4 billion won of cooperation fund, which is 46.4 percent more than this year's 159.8 billion won, was allocated to inter-Korean economic cooperation businesses such as modernization of railways and roads in North Korea as well as establishment of a foundation for the Kaesong Industrial Complex. Costs associated with modernizing tree nursery and disease and insect pest control for forests so as to recover forests in the North are also included in the budged. “Projects that are linked to sanctions against North Korea will be pursued after certain conditions are met in sync with a progress in denuclearization talks,” the ministry added.
Reunion of families separated by the Korean War is also anticipated to be expanded next year, which prompted relevant cooperation fund surged by three folds from this year’s 12 billion won to 33.6 billion won next year. Such amount of money can cover six reunions and six visits to hometowns.
Operation costs for an inter-Korean liaison office at Kaesong, whose opening has been delayed, was allocated with 8.3 billion won for next year. On the other hand, the budget for North Korea human rights foundation was drastically cut by 92.6 percent to 800 million won from this year's 10.8 billion won. The ministry says that it plans to apply for emergency fund in the event a human rights foundation is launched.
In-Chan Hwang firstname.lastname@example.org