South Korea announced plans Monday to train 35,000 "unification workers" as part of a long-term program to prepare for a sudden collapse of North Korea.
South Korea has set aside $480,000 to train an initial 700 experts next year, officials at the government ministry Unification Board said.South Korean officials repeatedly have said they would prefer to have the two rivals join gradually, rather than suddenly as occurred in Germany. But many fear that North Korea's prolonged economic strains might cause its communist government to unravel.
The Korean peninsula has been divided since the 1950-53 Korean War. The two countries have yet to sign a permanent peace treaty.
Washington and Seoul proposed in April that they, along with China and North Korea, join in talks to replace the temporary armistice that ended fighting.