Inter-Korean commercial trade rises 40 percent in first quarter


Commercial trade between South and North Korea rose 40 percent to US$187.08 million year-on-year in the first quarter, a top unification official said Thursday.

The increase was mainly attributed to an influx of zinc bullion, sand, fishery items, shoes, clothing and watches into a joint industrial complex in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

“But noncommercial trade between the two sides rose a mere 6.7 percent to $278.11 million in the first quarter because of the halt in government and civic aid to the North,” Vice Unification Minister Shin Un-sang said in a press briefing.

Last week, South Korea sent the first batch of its promised 300,000 tons of fertilizer aid as well as flood relief supplies to the North.

Shortly after the North conducted missile tests in July, the South suspended food and fertilizer aid along with its emergency aid to the impoverished North. In retaliation, the communist nation suspended inter-Korean talks, family reunions and the construction of a family reunion center.

In March, the two Koreas agreed to resume humanitarian aid and family reunion events just days after North Korea promised to take steps to shut down its main nuclear reactor and eventually disable it in return for energy aid from South Korea, the United States, China, Russia and Japan.


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