[WORLD] Will Korea Pay North Korea for the release of prisoners?

D-Bo, Oct. 16, 2013, 12:32 p.m.

Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae has hinted at the possibility of adapting a cold-war West Germany's policy by buying the freedom of political prisoners and abduction victims in North Korea.  
West Germany paid hard currency to East Germany to win the release of political prisoners there under a scheme known as "Freikauf."  Ryoo told the National Assembly’s Foreign Affairs and Unification Committee on Tuesday previous administrations here "discussed a Freikauf policy of the kind implemented in pre-unification Germany, and we'll also review the possibility of introducing it."

Ryoo was replying to Democratic Party lawmaker Shim Jae-kwon, who asked, "Do you have any intention to adopt a Korean version of the Freikauf policy to win the release of 120,000 North Korean political prisoners, South Korean kidnapping victims, and hundreds of South Korean prisoners of war still living in the North?"  DP floor leader Jun Byung-hun also proposed this in a speech at the National Assembly on Oct. 8.

From 1963 to 1989, the year when the Berlin Wall fell, West Germany delivered 3.46 billion Deutsche Mark worth of cash and goods to East Germany in return for the release of a total of 33,755 dissidents.

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