Tue, Nov 13, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Koreas trade gifts of food

AP, SEOUL

A South Korean Air Force cargo plane takes off with a load of tangerines bound for North Korea at Jeju International Airport in South Korea on Sunday.

Photo: AP

South Korea is airlifting thousands of boxes of tangerines to North Korea in return for the North’s large shipments of pine mushrooms in September, officials in Seoul said yesterday.

South Korea said it was to send 200 tonnes of tangerines from its southern resort island of Jeju to North Korea by yesterday.

The South Korean Ministry of Defense said military planes flew to Pyongyang twice on Sunday to deliver the fruit and were to do the same yesterday.

After September’s inter-Korean summit talks in Pyongyang, North Korea gave South Korea 2 tonnes of pine mushrooms as a goodwill gesture. Pine mushrooms are large white fungi that are considered a healthy delicacy in both Koreas and other Asian nations. They are one of the North’s most prized regional products, and the country shipped them to South Korea in 2000 and 2007 after previous summit talks.

The tangerine airlifting is a sign that the two Koreas are pushing ahead with efforts to improve ties, despite a stalemated global diplomacy on North Korea’s nuclear program.

According to Seoul and Washington officials, North Korea recently postponed high-level talks with the US meant to discuss achieving North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and setting up a second summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

After a provocative run of its nuclear and missile tests last year, North Korea entered talks with the US and South Korea this year saying it was willing to deal away its advancing weapons arsenal.

The North has since dismantled a nuclear testing site and parts of its rocket-engine testing facilities.

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