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
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
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.