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SEOUL, September 29 (Itar-Tass) —— North Korea purchased from China in August three times more grain than over the same period last year. This unusual growth of import may testify to the worsening of the food situation in the North, expert of the Korean institute on agricultural problems Kwon Dae Jin said on Thursday.
In August 2010, the DPRK imported from China 16,700 tonnes of maize, flour and rice, and in the same month of the current year, such purchases increased up to almost 48,000 tonnes, he said.
“It seems strange that the North has sharply increased the grain import in August on the eve of the autumn harvesting season. This gives grounds to suppose that the North’s grain reserves have seriously reduced,” the expert believes.
Over the first eight months of the current year, Pyongyang imported from China, which is its ally, economic donor and diplomatic partner, 216,500 tonnes of grain, which exceeds the corresponding index of 2010 by 20 percent.
Recently North Korea seriously suffered from devastating floods which actually destroyed agricultural crops on dozens of thousands of hectares of land. This damage, as Seoul believes, aggravated still more the tense situation connected with supplying the country’s population with foodstuffs.
Since the end of the 90ies, when famine, in which, according to estimates, two million people died, broke out in the country, North Korea mainly relies on international aid, the news agency Yonhap notes in this connection.