South Rues Debt Payment Date Drift

The South Korean government has expressed regret that North Korea has yet to comment on the issue of repaying its food loan debts owed to South Korea, despite a request for repayment sent by Seoul.

Kim Hyung Seok, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Unification, pointed out today in a commentary piece, “Without any explanation, North Korea failed to disclose a position regarding its first principal food loan ($5,834,000), and did not respond to our repayment notification.”

He continued, “This is a violation of an agreement between the countries,” adding, “We urge North Korea once again to faithfully carry out the agreement.”

The South Korean government sent another repayment notice this morning by fax from Korea Eximbank to the Chosun Trade Bank. The government also sent a notice to North Korea via the international courier DHL.

As stated in the agreement proper, North Korea had a month to respond after its first redemption date, but there has been no answer thus far. Therefore, the South Korean government has again called for repayment.

However, spokesperson Kim cautioned, “North Korea is not in default just because they did not make a stance. It is international practice to repeat the procedures.”

In 2000, the South Korean government sent 30,000 tons of foreign rice and 20,000 tons of corn to North Korea. By 2007 they had sent a total of 2.4 million tons of rice and 20,000 tons of corn.

The first repayment day for the loans provided in 2000 fell due on June 7th, 2012, but passed without a word from North Korea.