Survey: Reunification funds needed

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Survey: Reunification funds needed

South Korean economic experts believe the country needs to immediately start saving up for unification with impoverished North Korea, which will cost at least 3,500 trillion won ($3 trillion), a survey by experts released yesterday showed.

Most of the experts also said the divided Koreas will likely be reunified within the next 30 years.

The survey was conducted by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI), the largest business lobby in South Korea, and was taken after President Lee Myung-bak proposed introducing a “unification tax” to prepare to reunite with the communist North.

Of the 20 experts surveyed, 63.1 percent said reunification of the two Koreas will cost more than that of Germany, about $3 trillion.

The amount includes the initial costs of stabilizing the peninsula following reunification, and the costs of eradicating economic and social disparities between the two Koreas.

Half of the respondents said the country needed to begin discussing ways to pay such enormous costs, and 20 percent said such discussions must begin immediately.

“Every respondent saw the need for such discussions because no one answered that they were unnecessary,” the FKI said in a press release.

None of the respondents said reunification will take place within the next five years, but 95 percent, or 19 out of the experts surveyed, said the two Koreas will likely be unified before 2040.

They all agreed the unification with North Korea will be a great burden on the South Korean economy in the near future, but a great opportunity in the long term.


Yonhap

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