SEOUL, Apr. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea provided the largest amount of cash and products to North Korea between 2003 and 2008 under the liberal administration of late President Roh Moo-hyun, Seoul’s unification ministry said Thursday.
The government and civic groups offered a combined US$4.36 billion to North Korea under the Roh administration, followed by $2.47 billion tallied under the five-year Kim Dae-jung administration starting February 1998, according to the Ministry of Unification.
Late liberal President Kim and his successor Roh pursued an engagement policy with North Korea, which led to vibrant inter-Korean reconciliatory projects and humanitarian aid.
The ministry said that cash and products valued at $1.98 billion were sent to the North under the conservative Lee Myung-bak administration between 2008 and 2013, followed by $1.22 billion under the 1993-98 Kim Young-sam government.
South Korea provided $337 million to the North under the conservative administration of former President Park Geun-hye, who was ousted in March following her impeachment. She took office in February 2013.
But the ministry’s data does not appear to mean that liberal governments lavishly and unconditionally offered support to North Korea in the past.
Nearly 90 percent of the $2.3 billion in remittance tallied under the Roh administration included money paid for imports of North Korean fishery products and costs needed for North Korea’s vendor manufacturing of light industry products.
“The government compiled the value of money or products being sent to North Korea,” a ministry official said, adding that it is not proper to compare data among each administration as different yardsticks were applied.
The ministry said it unveiled the data to provide correct figures as presidential candidates are in political wrangling over previous governments’ remittance to North Korea.
Data going viral online showed that the Kim Young-sam government sent the largest amount of $3.6 billion to the North, followed by $1.68 billion under the Lee Myung-bak administration.
The Roh government’s $1.4 billion in remittance ranked third, followed by $1.34 billion under the Kim Dae-jung government, it showed.