S. Koreans reluctant to pay unification cost with North


SEOUL: While more than 70 percent of South Koreans support eventual unification with North Korea, almost half have no interest in helping cover the massive estimated financial cost, a survey said on Wednesday.

The poll of 1,001 people found that 72 percent backed the idea of a unified Korean peninsula, although 46 percent said the merger should be a “gradual” rather than a swift process.

But when it came to paying for it, 44.3 percent said they had no interest in sharing the cost.

Around 54 percent said they would be willing to contribute, but only 22 percent would cough up more than 50,000 won ($48) a year.

The survey, released by the Unification Ministry, was commissioned by a research institute at Seoul National University and conducted by a polling firm between November 28 and December 16.

Forecasting the cost of unification is an almost meaningless task, given the large number of possible scenarios under which a merger might occur.

As a result, estimates vary wildly, with the only real consensus being it would be far from cheap.

Last year, the South Korean Finance Ministry said reunification—assuming it took place in 2020—would cost up to seven percent of South Korea’s annual gross domestic product for a period of 10 years.



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