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Korea’s Bahk Pledges More Than ‘Fair Share’ to IMF Resour

South Korea's Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan
Bahk Jae Wan, South Korea's finance minister. Photographer: David Rochkind/Bloomberg

South Korean Finance Minister Bahk Jae Wan said his country will contribute “more than its fair share” in additional International Monetary Fund resources to help stabilize the European debt crisis.

“The world will know and feel immediately that Korea will contribute more than its fair share” once the nation announces the additional amount, Bahk said in a Bloomberg News interview today in Washington. The figure will be more than international expectations given the country’s gross domestic product and foreign exchange reserves, he said, declining to provide a specific figure.

The European debt crisis has taken center stage at this week’s Group of 20 conference, where Bahk and his counterparts are expected to discuss ways to contain the region’s turmoil. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said yesterday that she has received pledges totaling about $320 billion.

That $320 billion doesn’t include Korea’s commitment and the “most realistic” total of pledges from countries across the globe is probably about $400 billion to $450 billion, Bahk said, speaking through an interpreter.

Switzerland and a group of countries that were not named promised to contribute $26 billion, Lagarde said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. Poland agreed to pitch in another $8 billion. That adds to a combined $86 billion promised by Japan, Denmark, Norway and Sweden over the past three days and $200 billion from euro nations a few months ago.

It’s “not desirable to be hesitant” to act in the face of the crisis because a stabilized Europe is in Korea’s economic interests, Bahk said.

Separately, Korea’s economy is “faring well” compared to what he had expected earlier, he said. Volatility in the nation’s currency has recently been “quite low,” reflecting authorities’ “satisfactory achievement” in stabilizing the won, Bahk added.

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