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South Korea Increases Reward For North Korean Defectors

By March 10, 2017 at 7:24 am
South Korea increases reward for N. Korean defectors (Photo : Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

South Korea has announced that it will quadruple its reward fee for North Korean defectors. They will be recompensing those who are willing to provide classified information on the country's military secrets.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Unification announced that it will be paying up to 1 billion won, about 860,000 USD. This is much higher than the previous maximum of 250 million won.

A bill is set to be submitted, which would outline the changes. It would also offer substantial financial rewards for those who can provide intelligence and knowledge, which can enhance the security of South Korea. A Unification Ministry official said that the bill will be considered in the National Assembly between Feb. 28 and Mar. 9.

The announcement comes amidst the tension brewing between North and South Korea over the latter's controversial U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system. It has begun deployment earlier this week.

The defense ministry and the U.S. Forces Korea (USFK) confirmed on Tuesday that the first batch of equipment of the THAAD battery arrived at Osan Air Base in Pyeongtaek. It was brought aboard a C-17 transport aircraft.

The system is expected to be in operation as soon as possible. Sources claimed that the anti-missile battery system could be deployed in two months as long as the parts are delivered without hitches. The unit may be operational as early as April.

North Korea and China have both expressed their opposition to the THAAD deployment. The former has accused South Korea and the U.S. of pushing the Korean peninsula to the "brink of nuclear war" while the latter's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang has stated that it would "severely disrupt the regional strategic balance."

Meanwhile, China has confirmed the increase of about 7 percent for its 2017 defense budget. Several experts believe, though, that the country is actually spending more on the military than the officially announced figure.

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