Will The Remittances to The North Work?It is certainly happy news that separated families in South Korea will be able to send money to family members in North Korea. The service will cost $1,110, not a great deal of money for a family that has been split for 50 years. In the past, those who wanted to search for their family members in the North were forced to pay enormous sums of money to brokers in third countries with little or no guarantee of any results.
Hanvit Bank and Union Community in South Korea and Koryo Commerce Bank and the Mt. Kumgang International Group in North Korea will search for seperated family members in the North. We hope that this work will blossom into an active exchange of seperated families in the South and North. Accordingly, the project should be discussed more thoroughly at the inter-Korean summit meeting scheduled for June.
The project, while positive, is not entirely to the satisfction of the Korean people. The fact that remittances to the North will now pass through legal channels is comforting. Yet, transactions and business practices in the North are veiled. The South doesn't even know which North Korean body will be in charge of the affair. There are seperated families doubting that the money they plan to send will even reach the intended recipient. The method and structure of the organization to be responsible for the project should be transparent. Exchanges between the South and the North will work only if the administrative bodies of both sides become actively involved.
by Lee Won-ho