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Kim Jong-un sends educational aid fund to pro-Pyongyang group in Japan

All Headlines 18:12 April 14, 2016

SEOUL, April 14 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent 218.8 million yen (about US$2,003,114) in educational aid funds and scholarships to a pro-Pyongyang Korean group in Japan for the democratic national education of Korean children, the North's state media reported Thursday.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the provision of the money to the General Association of Korean Residents in Japan, known as Chongryon, was timed with the 104th anniversary of the late founder and current leader's grandfather Kim Il-sung, which will fall on the next day.

The KCNA also said the educational aid funds and stipends to the group sent by Kim Il-sung, the current leader's father Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un currently total 47.78 billion yen over 162 installments.

Kim's monetary support to the group is interpreted as a scheme to drum up loyalty from the next generation of Chongryon, even though the North is in great financial difficulty arising from new international sanctions over its fourth nuclear test in January and launch of a long-range rocket.

"By offering enormous aid funds and scholarships, the North appears to promote (Kim's) 'politics of benevolence' to the outside world," said Ahn Chan-il, the head of the private Seoul-based World Institute for North Korean Studies. "It is also aimed at letting Chongryon know that Kim's affection toward its children remains unchanged from the periods of his predecessors."

namsh@yna.co.kr
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