The whole country was in dire straits when the Office of External Cooperation Aid (OECA) at the NIS took charge of the NP Project in August 1998. The primary agenda was to enhance Korea’s national credit before the rest of the world. The country was still recovering from the 1997–98 economic crisis in which the government had to go to the International Monetary Fund to piece together a $58 billion rescue package. People were volunteering to give up their gold jewelry in order to shore up the nation’s finances. More than 3.5 million patriotic Koreans participated in the campaign; a total of 227 tons of gold, worth around $2.2 billion, was collected.
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