February 13, 2018 11:54
The government seems determined to resume reunions of families separated by the Korean War. It has set aside W730 million to finance a network of experts and verify if family members separated by the 1950-53 war are still alive (US$1=W1,086).
The fund was created just three days before North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong visited South Korea and invited President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang.
According to a National Assembly source, a Unification Ministry committee overseeing the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund in a closed-door meeting last week decided to allocate W406 million to verifying if members of separated families are still alive and W330 million to create a network of experts on North Korea.
The government normally conducts a survey of separated families every five years, the last one in 2016 costing W780 million. It is unclear why the Moon administration now wants to conduct another one.
There have been increasing calls from the ruling party to pursue or resume various cross-border exchanges to continue the momentum created by the North's participation in the Winter Olympics.
Although South Korean officials did not raise the issue of reunions of separated families during Kim Yo-jong's visit, it has already widely flagged their resumption.
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