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Ex-journalist to lead NK defector support foundation

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By Nam Hyun-woo

New Korea Hana Foundation President Cho Min-ho
New Korea Hana Foundation President Cho Min-ho
The Ministry of Unification has appointed Cho Min-ho, a former editorial writer of the Segye Ilbo, a local Korean-language daily, as the new president of the Korea Hana Foundation, an organization aimed at supporting North Korean defectors in South Korea.

Cho worked as a reporter, desk editor and editorial writer for the Segye Ilbo. He served as a counselor for the now-defunct Presidential Committee on Unification Preparation and as a member of the Peaceful Unification Advisory Council and a number of North Korea- and unification-related organizations.

"Based on his experience and expertise in the field of unification, Cho is anticipated to contribute to the foundation's stable operation and carry out policies to help North Korean defectors settle down in South Korean society," the ministry said in a statement.

The Korea Hana Foundation, also called the North Korean Refugees Foundation, is a non-profit public organization established by the Ministry of Unification in 2010 under the North Korean Defectors Protection and Settlement Support Act.

The foundation is mandated to provide support for defectors' immediate resettlement, medical expenses, employment and education, to help the successful settlement of approximately 30,000 defectors into South Korea.

According to the act, the foundation's president is appointed by the unification minister and the president can serve up to two three-year terms.

The Presidential Committee on Unification Preparation was established in 2014 during the Park Geun-hye administration, as a symbolic organization of the conservative government's North Korea policies.

Despite the committee's push for several projects, such as constructing a peace park in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas, inter-Korean relations plunged amid Pyongyang's provocations, and the body was disbanded in 2017 by then President Moon Jae-in.

Nam Hyun-woo

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