Fruitful thaw: S. Korean planes carry 200 tons of tangerines north in return for pricy mushrooms

Fruitful thaw: S. Korean planes carry 200 tons of tangerines north in return for pricy mushrooms Seoul has returned the favor after receiving a gift of pine mushrooms from Pyongyang, sending 20,000 boxes of rare tangerines north in the biggest cross-border shipment of goods in almost a decade.

North Koreans will soon have an opportunity to enjoy the taste of tangerines as four cargo planes off from South Korea on Sunday. The fruit was chosen as a gift because it is not a common delicacy in the North.

“Tangerines were chosen because they are in season at the moment, and it is a kind of fruit that is rare in North Korea,” presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom , as quoted by Yonhap. 

The 200-ton present was sent in response to Kim Jong-un’s gesture of good will after the third high-level summit between the leadership of South and North Korea. Back then, Kim gifted some two tons of expensive pine mushrooms to the South. However, the gift had only recently been clear of radiation and safe to eat.

The latest present from the South became the biggest shipment of its goods to North Korea in eight years. In 2010, inter-Korean relations suffered a major setback, when the two countries’ militaries exchanged artillery fire on Yeonpyeong Island. Later, tensions further escalated on the Korean Peninsula when Pyongyang continued its nuclear and missile tests.

The situation eased at the beginning of this year, after the two countries agreed to have a united women’s hockey team at the Winter Olympics. The leaders held a summit for the first time in decades in April and have met twice more since then. During the last visit of South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang in September, it was agreed to remove landmines along the heavily defended North-South Korean border, and Kim announced that he would dismantle the nation’s missile and rocket engine test site.

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