By Lee Tae-hoon
Korea will raise the amount of its aid to more than twice its current level to developing over the next three years, Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik said Tuesday.
"Development cooperation is an investment in the future, not simply helping poor countries," Kim said during the second session of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) held in Laos Monday.
"Recognizing that, Korea plans to increase the amount of its official development aid (ODA) more than two-fold over the next three years."
Seoul set aside 1.9 trillion won ($1.74 billion), or 0.15 percent of the country's gross national income, for this year's ODA, up from 1.7 trillion won in 2011, or 0.13 percent of the country's total income.
He said Korea plans to play a key role in devising a new global development cooperation paradigm.
Kim stressed Seoul will expand its international development aid regardless of the current global economic uncertainties.
"The global financial and economic crisis places restrictions, but we need to expand or at least honor previous pledges especially in these hard times," he said.
Korea has been seeking to double the country's ODA to about $3 billion by 2015, as part of commitments to give back to the international community in recognition of the benevolence it received during its own period of economic hardship. Korea, recovered from its sorry war-torn status t0 join the official club of international donor nations in 2009, becoming the world's first recipient-turned-donor country.
Kim also demanded support for education, saying support for this "not only meets the basic needs of human beings but serves as the groundwork for a country's effective and sustainable economic development."
He also underlined the importance of strengthening partnerships between governments and civil societies in pushing for development projects.