DPRK food imports from China triple in January

According to Yonhap:

North Korea brought in 13,834 tons of grain from the neighboring ally in January, a 3.6-fold increase from 3,869 tons in January last year, said Kwon Tae-jin, a senior researcher on the North’s agricultural sector at the South’s Korea Rural Economic Institute in a posting on his blog.

Rice accounted for about 61 percent or 8,425 tons of the North’s grain import from China, followed by corn with 3,448 tons, beans with 1,553 tons and wheat with 304 tons, Kwon said, citing data from the Korea International Trade Association.

“The big rise in imports of corn and beans, which the North didn’t bring in last year, appears to be not only because corn harvests were not good, but it also suggests the North increased imports over concerns about possible food shortages,” he said.

Kwon also said that the North’s regime could have increased imports to enlarge state food rations after last year’s currency reform caused strains on the country’s food supply system.

North Korea has relied on foreign handouts to feed its 24 million population after natural disasters and mismanagement devastated its economy. The situation worsened in recent years as South Korea halted regular food aid to the North after President Lee Myung-bak took office in early 2008 under a policy to link aid to Pyongyang’s process in ending its nuclear weapons programs.


The U.N. food agency, Food and Agriculture Organization, said early this month that the North is expected to be short of about 1-1.2 million tons of food this year.

I think the data for this story came from this KITA web page, but I can’t be sure since my Korean is exceptionally limited. Here is a description of the KITA page in English.

On a personal note, I wish the major South Korean media outlets  would get into the habit of posting links to their sources.  It is not difficult to do this.  

Read the full article here:
N. Korea’s food imports from China more than triple in January: expert


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