South Korea Allocates 610 Million Won for DNA Testing of War-Divided FamiliesBudget Airlines Compete for Asiana Airlines’ Cargo Division

SEOUL — The South Korean government, through its unification ministry, announced on Wednesday its decision to allocate 610 million won ($457,270) this year for DNA testing of families torn apart by the Korean War of 1950-53. The initiative aims to leverage genetic information to assist in the reunification of separated family members, many of whom are elderly and have passed away without the opportunity to reconnect with their relatives in North Korea.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the project seeks to address the growing concern of aging separated family members in South Korea, many of whom have not had the chance to meet their kin in the North. Since the inception of this initiative in 2014, gene tests have been conducted on 27,794 individuals from divided families within South Korea. The government has expressed its intention to extend these DNA tests to the children and grandchildren of separated families in the future, as well as to provide support for gene testing of separated family members residing overseas.

As of the end of January, the number of surviving separated family members stood at 39,258, with 67.9 percent aged 80 and older, reflecting the urgency of facilitating family reunions. The divided Koreas have conducted 21 rounds of temporary reunions since a landmark summit between their leaders in 2000, with the most recent reunions taking place in 2018.

The effort to use DNA testing as a tool for reuniting families underscores the complex legacy of the Korean War and the continued human cost of the peninsula's division. This initiative represents a step towards healing the wounds of the past by bringing together families that have been separated for decades.

SEOUL — In a significant move within the aviation industry, four budget airlines have submitted preliminary bids to acquire the cargo division of Asiana Airlines Inc. This development comes as the full-service carrier seeks to divest its cargo operations, a requirement set forth by the European Union to address competition concerns surrounding Korean Air's proposed merger with Asiana.

According to Yonhap News Agency, financial services firm UBS, which has been tasked with facilitating the sale, concluded the preliminary bidding process earlier in the day. The companies that have expressed interest in acquiring Asiana Airlines' cargo division include Jeju Air Co., Eastar Jet Co., Air Premia Inc., and the cargo-focused Air Incheon.

Asiana Airlines' decision to sell its cargo division is part of compliance measures with the European Union's conditions for the Korean Air merger, aimed at maintaining competitive balance in the market. The cargo business of Asiana Airlines is noted for generating annual revenue exceeding 1 trillion won (US$749.4 million), with the expected deal to finalize at less than 700 billion won.

The age of Asiana Airlines' cargo fleet, with many aircraft over 30 years old, suggests that the successful bidder will need to undertake substantial investment in maintenance. Jeju Air, part of the Aekyung Group, is reportedly the frontrunner in this bid, given its financial stability and operational readiness.

The main creditor of Asiana Airlines, KDB, is set to shortlist potential buyers soon and proceed with due diligence, aiming to select the preferred buyer within the current year.

scroll to top