North Korean officials import luxury foods ahead of Lunar New Year — Radio Free Asia

North Korean officials import luxury foods ahead of Lunar New Year — Radio Free Asia

Ships showing up from China bring fruits, oil and sugar are going into North Korea throughout the Yalu River border to perform ahead of Seollal, the Lunar New Year holiday, but sources informed RFA the products were for officials of the State Security Department, not for the public.
Seollal, in addition to the harvest holiday Chuseok, are the 2 essential vacations in both North and South Korea. During both vacations households collect together and pay respects to their forefathers while sharing a huge feast.
North Korea is suffering from severe food lacks, mainly due to the closure of the border with China because the start of the coronavirus pandemic in Jan. 2020. Rail freight between the two nations resumed last week, numerous of the crucial components are still in short supply.
But those with power and opportunity will utilize it to ensure their household can have a proper feast, the sources said.
” Since the start of last week in Ryongychon Port, which faces Donggang Port in China, medium-sized and little vessels have been often going to and from both ports throughout the Yalu River, at the point where it joins the West Sea,” an authorities from a trading company told RFAs Korean Service Wednesday, using a Korean term for the sea in between China and the Korean peninsula, understood globally as the Yellow Sea.
” These ships are mainly packed with fruits, cooking oil and sugar, and all the ships … belong to the General Bureau of Border Security, under the Ministry of State Security,” stated the source, who asked for privacy for security factors.
The authorities offered special authorization to the trading companies run by the bureau to import products needed for Seollal so that officials of the Ministry of State Security might commemorate appropriately, he said.
” The ships have the ability to go into Donggang in the early morning and load up on boxes of food, then go back to Ryongchon around 4 p.m. Before they can discharge their goods, the ships need to go through an extensive quarantine and disinfection treatment before the food can be stored,” the authorities stated.
” After a week, the food is put on freight cars and transported to each region and supplied as presents to authorities from the ministry in each area,” he said.
When North Korean ships show up, a source living near the port in Donggang stated time is of the essence.
” The workers from the Donghang food company load the fruits and food boxes onto the boats, which right away leave when loading is finished and the products covered,” he said.
From there, they travel to Ryongchon to be unloaded by workers at the pier.
” All the goods entering into Ryongchon ahead of Seollal are covered with a blue screen when we unload it, so the general public can not acknowledge the contents,” a third source working at the pier in Ryongchon informed RFA on condition of anonymity.
” But the people here in Ryongchon are all conscious that the ships are carrying vacation items for officials of the Ministry of State Security,” the worker said.
Residents are resentful that they make special exceptions on their own while the individuals suffer, the dockworker stated.
” The authorities blocked the border under the pretext of COVID-19, but they have no qualms reopening maritime trade so they can get their vacation presents.”
Equated by Leejin Jun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.
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