SKorea to start overland rice shipment next week

SEOUL - South Korea will start sending rice aid to North Korea overland late next week as part of its promised shipment of 400,000 tons of the staple to its impoverished neighbour, officials said Monday.

By (AFP)

Published: Mon 9 Jul 2007, 5:12 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 10:17 PM

The unification ministry said 50,000 tons of rice would be delivered to the North from July 20 through cross-border railways which opened in May.

South Korea suspended its regular rice aid after North Korea conducted missile tests a year ago. This was followed by a nuclear test in October.

But Seoul promised to resume rice aid to Pyongyang last month after the communist country moved towards the dismantling its nuclear programme. The first batch of rice was delivered to the North on June 30 by sea.

South Korea has also promised to ship raw materials and fuel oil to the North in an effort to speed up the shutdown of the communist state’s nuclear reactor.

The first batch of fuel oil will leave for North Korea on Thursday. In response, Pyongyang said it would consider shutting down the reactor as soon as the first shipment reaches its soil.

North Korea agreed in February to shut down and seal its key Yongbyon reactor, which produces the raw material for bomb-making plutonium, in return for 50,000 tons of oil from South Korea.

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