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N. Korea's grain, fertilizer imports from China fall sharply
SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- North Korea imported significantly less grain and fertilizers from China last year, mainly due to improvements in overall food conditions in the country, local sources said Tuesday.

   Kwon Tae-jin, a research fellow at the Seoul-based Korea Rural Community Corp., said data compiled from January through November showed North Korea's grain imports from its neighboring country reaching 257,931 tons.

   This represents a 26.8 percent decrease from 352,282 tons tallied for the same 11 month period in 2011.

   "There was a noticeable drop in various grain imports last year," the researcher said, adding that imports of corn and rice fell 19.2 percent and 16.7 percent vis-a-vis the year before, with wheat and bean purchases declining 56.2 percent and 7.4 percent, respectively.

   The latest data also showed Pyongyang importing 252,780 tons of chemical fertilizers from China up till November, down 28.8 percent from 355,023 tons reported from the year before.

   Experts in the South said the decrease reflected improvements in overall food supply in the communist country brought on by the new leadership paying more attention to the economy.

   Kim Jong-un, who took over running the country in December 2011, after the sudden death of his father Kim Jong-il, stressed the importance of growth and pledged to make the country an economic powerhouse.

   yonngong@yna.co.kr
(END)
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