NK Imports 15,000 Tons of Rice From China in Late 2006

Korea Times

North Korea purchased about 15,000 metric tons of rice from China late last year, reflecting a severe food shortage in the communist state, according to South Korea’s state-run trade agency Friday.

The impoverished communist country imported 7,423 tons of rice in October, 3,910 tons in November and 3,928 tons in December, the Korea Trade Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said.

The amount of rice imported over the three-month period is about 2.6 times more than that of the same period in 2005, and it accounted for almost half of its annual rice imports totaling 38,479 tons, KOTRA said.

“North Korea’s massive rice imports following the harvest season means that its food situation is so severe. Due to the imported rice, North Korea’s market rice prices are stable so far,’’ said Kwon Tae-jin, a senior researcher at the state-run Korea Rural Economic Institute.

Another North Korea expert said the communist country might have had to take such measures because of United Nations sanctions on the North following its nuclear weapon test in October as well as South Korea’s suspension of its food and fertilizer aid to North Korea since July.


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