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DATE=7/7/2000
TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
TITLE=NORTH KOREA / ECONOMIC AID (L-ONLY)
NUMBER=2-264158
BYLINE=ALISHA RYU
DATELINE=HONG KONG
CONTENT=
VOICED AT:
INTRO:  South Korea says it is sending much more aid 
to poverty-stricken North Korea this year than it did 
last year.  V-O-A's Alisha Ryu reports that South 
Korea has good reasons for wanting to increase 
donations.
TEXT:  Seoul's Unification Ministry says South Korea's 
economic aid to North Korea in the first half of this 
year totaled more than 67-million dollars - a 48 
percent increase from the same period last year.
Government contributions, mainly in the form of 
fertilizer and medical supplies, accounted for 85 
percent of the total amount sent.  But the biggest 
jump in donations came from private citizens who 
contributed almost 10-million dollars worth of goods, 
reflecting an increase of 134 percent from last year's 
levels.
Years of political and economic isolation have left 
the communist North one of the most impoverished 
nations in the world.  Floods and drought in recent 
years crippled food production and the resulting 
famine is estimated to have killed as many as two-
million people since 1995.
The government in Seoul says the increasing aid 
reflects the easing of tensions on the peninsula, 
particularly after the leaders of the two Koreas held 
their first successful summit last month.  They say 
the much more affluent South is mobilizing out of 
concern for the needs of a neighbor who shares 
cultural, linguistic, and family ties with the South.
But Korea expert David O'Rear believes the South is 
also motivated by self-interest.
            /// O'REAR ACT ///
      Think of it as a very large credit card debt.  
      If you pay it off this week instead of next 
      year, you save a lot of money.  So, whatever 
      assistance South Korea can give North Korea now 
      is less (than) what it will have to pay in the 
      future in the event that there is unification.
            /// END ACT ///
South Korea is currently the second biggest donor to 
North Korea after the United States.  The two Koreas, 
however, still remain technically at war since the 
Korean War ended in 1953 in an armed truce, without a 
peace treaty.   (Signed)
NEB/HK/AR/JO/JP
07-Jul-2000 06:52 AM EDT (07-Jul-2000 1052 UTC)
NNNN
Source: Voice of America
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