Seoul May Resume Fertilizer Aid to N.Korea

The government is ready to provide North Korea with fertilizer even before an inter-Korean summit is held. "Food aid is difficult because there is a high chance it will be diverted to the military, but fertilizer isn't much of a problem," a security official said Monday.

The South offered 10,000 tons of corn to the North in October "because corn is less likely to be diverted to the military than rice," a Cheong Wa Dae official said. Pyongyang accepted the offer only recently because Seoul notified it that other aid including fertilizer would be not be given unless it accepted the corn, according to a North Korea source.

The North needs the fertilizer by March at the latest if it is to use it for the upcoming farming season. Fertilizer aid was suspended in 2007 in response to the North's nuclear test.

englishnews@chosun.com / Feb. 02, 2010 12:13 KST