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Press Note : Clarification on Chosun Ilbo's report(6.29) regarding food aid to North Korea


Ministry of Unification’s position on Chosun Ilbo’s report regarding food aid to North Korea

June 29, 2019

 o The Chosun Ilbo reported on June 29 that ① “The government appropriated the emergency relief budget based on low-priced Thai rice, but decided to provide South Korean rice to the North for twice the budget,” and that ② “There is criticism that holding the Inter-Korean Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council in written form, rather than face-to-face, is a hasty and expedient way of managing the meeting.” The Ministry of Unification states that this is not true.

 o As explained several times, the Government set the budget based on the price of Thai rice as it is the international standard price for rice. This does not mean that the Government will provide Thai rice to the North. The type of rice to be provided as aid is decided at the time of actual delivery, based on considerations including the purpose of the aid.

  - The Government decided to provide South Korean rice this time because 1) it corresponds to the purpose of minimizing difficulties of our fellow Koreans in the North; and 2) it helps protect domestic farms by resolving an oversupply of rice and reducing the cost of rice storage and management.
  - Loss resulting from the price difference between South Korean rice and Thai rice will be covered by the special account for grain management, just as in any other case of selling domestic rice for policy needs. This is in fact costs that support domestic farms.
   ※ Domestic rice stock is also at times used to support low-income families, and the deficiencies under such circumstances are also covered by the special account for grain management.

 o Holding the Council Meeting in written form cannot be seen as hasty or expedient management as it followed procedures of the meeting’s regulations, while also considering the need to urgently provide aid to the North within its period of hardship.
   ※ Article 7(1) of the Proceedings of the Council specifies that a meeting may be held in written form in case of urgency.

 o It is regrettable that such false reports may possibly mislead the general public to misinterpret government policy.