Seoul begins massive rice delivery to North Korea

South Korea began the delivery of 500,000 tons of rice to North Korea on Tuesday (July 26) in a massive aid operation that will continue until the end of the year, the Unification Ministry said.
About 100 trucks headed across the heavily-guarded Demilitarized Zone carrying an initial 2,500 tons to depots at the North Korean border town of Gaeseong, north of Seoul, and Goseong, near Mt. Geumgang on the east coast.

Seoul offered the rice aid, worth an estimated $150 million, in the form of a loan agreed upon at the inter-Korean economic talks on July 12. It is the largest offer of food aid to the communist North since 2000.

The ministry plans to send 100,000 tons of rice by truck over the next three and a half months.

The remainder will be delivered by ship to five North Korean ports on the east and west coasts. The first freighter will depart Mokpo port in southwestern coast on Saturday and the shipment is expected to be completed in late December.

About 80 percent of the rice is domestically grown and the remainder from import.

Seoul has also provided Pyongyang with 350,000 tons of fertilizer earlier this year to help ensure a good crop harvest.


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