DPRK

Government to ready larger budget for N. Korean support programs

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The government will increase its budget for unification affairs starting next year in order to launch a new project supporting North Korean babies and women, the Ministry of Planning and Budget said on Tuesday (June 5).
According to the 2006 budget proposal submitted to the ministry, 56 ministries and central administrative bodies have requested a total of 203.5 trillion won for the next year's budget spending, a rise of 4.4 percent from a year before.

Of the total, the unification and foreign affairs sector requested 2.86 trillion won for the 2006 budget, a 42.7 percent, or the largest, rise from a year ago.

The increase is due to the launch of the planned five-year new project to support North Korean babies, under which the government will spend 30 billion won next year and 550 billion won for the next five years.

The ministry said that the government decided to provide foods, medical supplies and medical equipment to the North as part of aid programs for the country.

The culture and tourism sector called for a 13.8 percent rise, the second highest, while the Defense Ministry requested the third highest of a 12-percent rise for the 2006 budget.

The military seeks to secure 23.3 trillion won ($23 billion) in the coming year, up from 20 trillion won this year.

The ministry plans to spend 8.3 trillion won, or 35.8 percent of the total defense budget, to build up the military capability in 2006, up from 33.9 percent this year.

The social welfare sector requested a budget of 49.55 trillion won for 2006, up 11.8 percent from a year ago.

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