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S. Korea again asks North to repay food loans
SEOUL, May 24 (Yonhap) -- South Korea again called on North Korea Friday to repay millions of dollars in loans provided in the form of food since 2000, the Unification Ministry said.

   The impoverished North missed the June 7, 2012 deadline to repay South Korea US$5.83 million in the first installment of the $724 million food loan extended to the North in rice and corn. The latest call is the South's fifth demand made on the North to repay its debt.

   Seoul's state-run Export-Import Bank (Eximbank) sent a message on Thursday to Pyongyang's Foreign Trade Bank, calling for the repayment, Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-suk said in a briefing.

   The South Korean bank also sent another message the same day, notifying the North of its forthcoming June 7th deadline to repay the second installment of $5.78 million, the spokesman said.

   "North Korea should faithfully abide by what they previously agreed to with the South," Kim said, calling for the repayment of food loans.

   Amid a conciliatory mode under the liberal-minded late President Kim Dae-jung, Seoul started to provide food loans to the famine-ridden country, providing a total of 2.4 million tons of rice and 200,000 tons of corn from 2000-2007.

   Under the deal, the North is required to pay back a total of $875.32 million by 2037.

   pbr@yna.co.kr
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