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`Liberal Gov`ts Gave W8.38 Bln to North Korea`

Posted September. 30, 2008 08:29,   


The liberal Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations between 1998 and last year gave 8.38 trillion won to North Korea in aid and loans, according to a report released by a ruling party lawmaker yesterday.

Taking office in February 2003 after the second North Korean nuclear crisis emerged in September 2002, Roh doled out 5.68 trillion won to Pyongyang over his five-year term, double that of his predecessor Kim (2.70 trillion won).

Ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Jin Yeong announced this in an analysis of data submitted by the Unification Ministry and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.

Kim and Roh gave to North Korea 2.4 trillion won for building light-water reactors and in food aid; 2.5 trillion won to pin the price of rice aid to that of the global market; 2.8 trillion won for other aid including fertilizer; and 696 billion won in aid from advocacy groups and provincial governments.

In 2003, South Korean aid to the North reached a high of 1.56 trillion won. Then after North Korean leader Kim Jong Il declared that his country had gone nuclear in 2005, the Roh administration sent 1.48 trillion won to the North.

Jin said, “South Korea gave a loan with rice first in 2000. Payments on the loan are deferred for 10 years. Thus, we are to receive the first repayment installment in 2010. But most of the 2.4 trillion won in loans seem irrecoverable.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers Korea audited the fiscal 2007 accounts of Seoul`s inter-Korean cooperation funds, saying, “Considering the characteristics of the North Korean government, grave uncertainty exists over the possibility of redeeming the loans given to the regime. The ultimate outcome depends heavily on the conditions around the Korean Peninsula.”

Since President Lee Myung-bak took office this year, exchanges between the two Koreas have been rare. Still, aid to the light-water reactor and the Gaesong industrial complex projects and civilian donations have continued, amounting to a combined 211.3 billion won.

The Kim Young-sam administration (1993-1998) gave 226.6 billion won to the North in humanitarian aid (207 billion won) and civilian donations (19.6 billion won).

srkim@donga.com leon@donga.com