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Top N. Korean agriculture official departs for Russia

By Yonhap

Published : April 21, 2024 - 10:08

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North Korea's top agriculture official, Ri Chol-man (Newsis) North Korea's top agriculture official, Ri Chol-man (Newsis)

North Korea's top agriculture official has embarked on a trip to Russia, Pyongyang's state media said Sunday, amid chronic food shortages in the North.

A state agriculture commission delegation led by chairman Ri Chol-man, who doubles as a cabinet vice premier, left for Russia by plane Saturday, according to the Korean Central News Agency.

In a Facebook post, the Russian Embassy in Pyongyang said Ri is scheduled to hold talks with Russia's Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev and meet other Russian agriculture and fisheries officials during his trip.

Ri will also visit the Nemchinovka Federal Research Center, which focuses on grain research, and the Russian State Agrarian University, the embassy said, noting that the delegation's schedule is expected to be "very busy."

The trip comes as the North has deepened ties with Russia since a rare summit between their leaders in Far East Russia last September, raising speculation the two sides may hold talks for possible Russian food support to the North, which has long grappled with food shortages.

In 2022, the North upgraded its agriculture ministry to a state commission in an apparent move to prioritize agricultural development amid its ongoing food woes.

It marks the latest trip of a North Korean delegation to Russia, with forestry ministry officials leaving Pyongyang on Friday for talks on bilateral cooperation. (Yonhap)