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S. Korea increases budget for inter-Korean exchange

By Wooyoung Lee
S. Korea increases budget for inter-Korean exchange
Finance Minister Kim Dong-yeon (L) gives a press briefing on the government's 2019 budget plan at the government complex in Sejong, south of Seoul, on Tuesday. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Aug. 28 (UPI) -- The South Korean government has increased next year's budget for inter-Korean projects.

It has allocated $991 million to fund inter-Korean exchanges next year, a 14 percent increase from this year, according to Yonhap.

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Nearly half of the budget will be used to fund the ongoing transport infrastructure project between the two Koreas. The North and South agreed to restore and modernize railways and highways connecting the two countries at the summit in April. They have conducted on-site inspections before launching plans for construction.

The budget also includes restoring forests in the North.

The government has also raised the budget for North-South family reunions next year by nearly threefold, from $10 million to $30 million. It plans to increase face-to-face family reunions and conduct trips to hometowns.

Other budgets have been assigned to create an ecological park in the Demilitarized Zone at the border and to publish a Korean language dictionary, featuring the different use of words in the North and South.

The government decided to reduce the volume of food aid to the North from 300,000 tons to 100,000 tons next year, cutting the budget by $119 million. This is to reflect the North's improved food situation and its resist humanitarian aids.

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