Last month, South Korea accepted imports of North Korean marine products for the first time since the Yeonpyeong Island shelling of November 2010.
A government official explained on Sunday, “In mid-June, more than forty tons of scallops were shipped in through the port at Sokcho in Gangwon Province. They were worth $100,000.”
The imports were permitted on the grounds that payment had been made before the government implemented sanctions against such transactions.
“Three South Korean companies who had already paid for goods were granted import approval,” the official went on. “Since this does not require any additional transfers to be made to the North, ultimately it does not violate the May 24th Measures.”
“We approved it after considering all aspects of the deal, including the possibility of dispute between companies, impact on the market and North Korea’s supply capacity.”
The May 24th Measures put in place pursuant to the sinking of the Cheonan in March 2010 put an end to almost all economic relations between North and South, save the continued operation of the Kaesong Industrial Complex.
However, the government put in place a grace period between June until October that year during which companies that had made payments to the North could negotiate with their partners for receipt of goods etc. However, a number of companies were unable to conclude their affairs with the North in the designated time period, and continued to negotiate for a viable solution.