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Inter-Korean cooperation fund cannot be used to help virus-hit people: unification ministry

All News 14:29 February 04, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 4 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Thursday it is not appropriate to use the inter-Korean cooperation fund to help people suffering from the coronavirus given the nature of the money set aside for cross-border exchanges.

Media reports earlier showed that the main opposition People Power Party is pushing to tap into the inter-Korean fund worth around 1.2 trillion won (US1.08 billion) in providing support for the virus-affected people during an interpellation session Friday.

"The inter-Korean cooperation fund is strictly required to be used for exchanges and cooperation between the two Koreas," a ministry official told reporters.

"From a perspective of the principle of national finance, it is not an appropriate argument that it should be used to provide support related to COVID-19," the official added.

The unification ministry runs the fund in order to support cooperative projects with North Korea.

According to the ministry, the fund is worth some 1.25 trillion won this year, up 3.3 percent from a year earlier. The money, however, has not been fully utilized recently, with no cross-border projects going on amid chilled relations between the two Koreas.

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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