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Korean government boosts budget for Ukrainian reconstruction

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Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong, left, speaks with Dmytro Ponomarenko, ambassador of the Embassy of Ukraine to Korea during the GICC 2023 event held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel in southern Seoul on Tuesday. [NEWS1]
Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong, left, speaks with Dmytro Ponomarenko, ambassador of the Embassy of Ukraine to Korea during the GICC 2023 event held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel in southern Seoul on Tuesday. [NEWS1]

The Korean government will increase the budget for Ukrainian reconstruction support in the upcoming year, along with a boost to the overall Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, said the Minister of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport Won Hee-ryong on Wednesday.

“We’ve decided to substantially boost the budget for next year’s Ukrainian reconstruction support and the overall Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget,” Minister Won said during the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference (GICC) 2023 event held at the Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas hotel in southern Seoul on Tuesday. “Korea is fully prepared for the Ukrainian reconstruction project.”

He reflected on the progress made by Korea following the aftermath of the Korean War.

“In the last two decades, Korea has achieved extraordinary growth thanks to its outstanding technology and unwavering dedication,” Won said, expressing confidence that Korea can effectively lead and support future-oriented projects within the scope of Ukrainian reconstruction, including “advanced construction, smart cities, environmental initiatives and transportation.”

“We aspire to see other nations overcome war and challenges, achieving prosperous economic growth and we are committed to providing unwavering support,” he added.

The GICC is an annual event for the Korean government to facilitate the international expansion of domestic companies. This year’s event featured discussions on the Ukrainian reconstruction project and collaborations with Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project.

During a dedicated session focused on Ukrainian reconstruction infra-cooperation, Minister Won signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) alongside key figures such as Tadeusz Koscinski, Polish secretary of State, and Dmytro Ponomarenko, ambassador of the Embassy of Ukraine to Korea. The MOU underscores the commitment of Korea, Ukraine and Poland to collaborate closely in support of successful Ukrainian reconstruction efforts.

Last week, a joint delegation from the Korean government and private sector, led by Minister Won, paid a visit to Kyiv, Ukraine.

During their trip, the delegation engaged in discussions with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. Subsequently, they jointly organized the Korea-Ukraine Reconstruction Cooperation Forum with the Ukrainian government, serving as a platform for deliberating on cooperative projects and fostering networks to involve Korean companies in Ukraine’s reconstruction efforts.

The post-conflict reconstruction endeavors in Ukraine are often likened to the second Marshall Plan, drawing parallels to the Marshall Plan in which the United States dedicated around $13 billion to support Europe’s recovery after World War II. Currently, the estimated scale of reconstruction projects in post-conflict Ukraine is valued at $900 billion.

BY SEO JI-EUN [seo.jieun1@joongang.co.kr]