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Mystery of North Korean exports to China

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It is believed that millions of North Koreans are suffer from malnutrition, but Pyongyang has reportedly increased rice exports to its powerful neighbour by more than a third this year.

It emerged last week that the isolationist state may be exporting an increasing amount of food to China.

A UN mission investigating the country’s food security status last year found that overall crop production over 2013/2014 was likely to grow by around 5%. But it also determined that the “majority of households have borderline or poor food consumption” and that the total food deficit for the year would amount to around 40,000 tons.

Yet the food exports to China are not only reported to take the form of some up-market items like seafood and ginseng, but also a small amount of rice. China has traditionally been North Korea’s major food donor, providing 60, 724 tons of maize, soybeans and rice over 2012/2013.