The Unification Ministry’s plan to raise a war chest in preparation for a possible restart to inter-Korean exchanges has been foiled.

According to the ministry, the 2018 budget bill that was passed by parliament early Wednesday earmarked a total of 227-point-five billion won for its general account budget next year, up 200 million won from the initial government plan. 

However, the amount of the Inter-Korean Cooperation Fund was slashed by 83-point-eight billion won to 962-point-four billion won.

Accordingly, the total usable budget for the ministry next year was reduced by one-point-five percent to just under one-point-19 trillion won.

It will be the second year in a row that less than one trillion won is set aside for the fund.

Compared to this year, the ministry had requested an eight-point-seven percent spending increase for next year for a total one-point-46 trillion won.