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Think tank estimates unification cost for Koreas at $2.14 tln

   SEOUL -- The unification cost on the Korean Peninsula in the wake of a sudden collapse of the North Korean regime is estimated to reach an astronomical 2,525 trillion won (about $2.14 trillion), a state-run think tank said Sunday.

   Nam Sung-wook, director of the Institute for National Security Strategy, made the estimate in a report to be presented to a unification policy public hearing, which the ruling Grand National Party is to host at the National Assembly on Monday.

   "The estimated unification cost marks a two-fold amount over the Republic of Korea's (ROK) gross domestic product for last year," said Nam in the report. ROK is the abbreviation of the official name of South Korea. "In terms of last year's GDP, South Koreans will have to shoulder 51.8 million won per capita in the unification cost. Under the scenario, ROK's national debt ratio will rise four-fold from 33.8 percent last year to 147 percent in 2040."

   He explained that the unification cost will include expenses required to stem the outflow of weapons of mass destruction, maintain social order, offer emergency relief goods to the North Koreans and repair various economic facilities in the North. (Yonhap News)