N. Korea repays Seoul aid with minerals

In the 1980s Pepsi went on sale in the Soviet Union [as did eventually Coke].  Since the hard currency needed to buy the syrup was scarce, the Soviets traded it for Vodka (which they presumably had plenty of)–At least this is what I was able to piece together when I visited the USSR as a teenager.

Yonhap (January 4, 2008) reports that North Korea has adopted the same basic strategy to repay its external debts.  This is a positive move on the part of the North because it is the first time the North has made an effort at repaying its external bills.

(excerpt from Yonhap)  The South-North Korea Exchanges and Cooperation Support Association said 500 tons of North Korean-produced zinc, worth about US$1.2 million, arrived in the port of Incheon on Thursday and was unloaded on Friday. It was the second repayment by the communist country for economic assistance provided by Seoul.

Although the amount agreed upon by both countries for 2007 has been paid in full, the installment represents only 3 percent of the North’s total debt to South Korea [appx. USD$80 million]. Pyongyang had agreed to pay Seoul with $2.4 million worth of mineral ore to reimburse it for aid.

[…]reportedly mark[ing] the first time the North has redeemed any of its debt.


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