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N.Korea estimates 2 million-ton food shortage

Posted December. 05, 2000 20:27,   


North Korea expects a food shortage of about 2.2 million tons, as its total grain stockpile is expected to amount to only 3,262,000 tons this year, former Japanese Prime Minister Tomiichi Murayama said Tuesday.

In an airport press meeting in Beijing on the way home from his delegation's six-day visit to Pyongyang, Murayama said he had been briefed on the North Korean food situation by the North's external cooperation bureau director.

The former Japanese premier also said that Kim Yong-Nam, chairman of the presidium of the North Korean Supreme People's Congress, told him that Defense Commission Chairman Kim Jong-Il was of the position that without Japan's sincere apology and due compensation for past wrongdoing, there would be no diplomatic rapprochement between Pyongyang and Tokyo. The indication was that it would be difficult for the two nations to make smooth progress in their ongoing diplomatic normalization talks.

Murayama visited the North for five days from Nov. 30 to Dec. 5 in the capacity of head of the North Korea-Japan normalization promotion committee that was set up in May.

Lee Jong-Hwan ljhzip@donga.com