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More cash pledged for defectors’ resettlement

Oct 22,2009
Seoul plans to spend 9.3 billion won ($7.9 million) next year on building new readjustment and education facilities for defectors from North Korea, according to a government report yesterday.

According to the Unification Ministry’s 2010 budget proposal report submitted to the National Assembly, the government aims to use 5.1 billion won to build the country’s second resettlement education center for defectors.

The first resettlement education center, named Hanawon and located in Anseong, south of Seoul, is capable of accommodating 750 defectors.

The government also plans to provide 4.2 billion won to establish a nationwide network of regional support “Hana Centers,” designed to help improve the welfare of the North Korean defectors, the report said.

More than 16,000 North Koreans have settled in the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. The number arriving annually has risen from 1,138 in 2002 to 2,809 last year.

The government plans to break ground for the second Hanawon next year to facilitate an increasing number of defectors expected to arrive in the South in the coming years. The government expects some 3,000 more arrivals this year alone.

Hana Centers are currently set up in Seoul and in Gyeonggi. The government plans to establish more centers in southern regions next year and up to 16 support centers nationwide by 2011. Yonhap



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