North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

DPRK Offers Ginseng to CZ for Old Foreign Debt

Karlštejn Castle, Central Bohemia, CZ

The DPRK has offered the Czech Republic‘s Finance Ministry bulk shipments (several hundred metric tons) of ginseng as partial repayment of debts incurred by the DPRK to the old Czechoslovakia.  The DPRK has offered the ginseng to pay 5 % of the 186 million Kc (korunas) [about $9.6 million USD] “for the delivery of transport machinery and trams.”  iDnes reports that the DPRK is number ten on a list of debtor countries from the former socialist bloc (Cuba was #1).  The DPRK’s Embassy in Prague is the country’s regional office for diplomatic and political management in the CEE.

Korea Times reports:

“We are trying to persuade them (North Korea) to give us, for example a bulk of Zinc instead, so that we could sell it to someone else,” Tomas Zidek, deputy finance minister, told the newspaper in Czech.

North Korea is believed to have a significant amount of zinc in deposits.

The paper went on to say the consumption of ginseng in the Czech Republic is very small, and it only imported 1.4 tons last year. The amount of ginseng worth $500,000 will be roughly 400 tons, securing the supply for more than 200 years.

But, to Czech’s disappointment, North Korea seemed to have made up its mind, as it sent a delegation with samples of ginseng.

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