The Unification Ministry is rejecting suspicions it is downplaying the costs of implementing April's inter-Korean Panmunjeom Declaration.
A ministry official told reporters Wednesday that the practice of submitting estimated next-year budget requests was established by the Roh Moo-hyun government in 2007, and that this government is simply following precedent. He was responding to the concerns raised by some opposition lawmakers that the total cost of implementing the Panmunjeom Declaration may be far higher than the Moon administration's 471-billion estimate, and say that requesting funds in year-by-year amounts may be a way of minimizing perception of that total cost.
Earlier this week, the government told lawmakers that it will require an additional 298-point-six billion won next year to implement the agreement.
Estimated costs include operating the inter-Korean liaison office, holding family reunions, and a range of infrastructure projects to modernize North Koreas roads and rails.