Refugee rights group sends bottles filled with rice across river dividing Korea

Monday 19th December, 2016

On the afternoon of the 15th of December, over thirty members of the North Korean Refugees Human Rights Association of Korea (NKR) sent 900kg of rice, across the Yeseong River in Ganghwa Country, Incheon. The rice was contained in 900 plastic bottles, and it is expected that tidal currents will push the bottles onto North Korean shores.

Kim Yong-hwa, president of NKR, has sent over 5 tonnes of rice over 16 instalments since April 2016. The latest batch of rice was donated by local churchgoers who hoped that the rice would help alleviate at least part of the suffering of the North Korean people, due to food shortages.

Photo by New Focus.

Kim said that the rice will most likely reach the shores of North Korea the next day, in regions such as Ongjin, Haeju, and Kwail County.

Kim stated, “This year’s floods have caused severe food shortages in North Korea which has had great impact on the livelihoods of the North Korean people. We wondered how we might be able to help the people in Hwanghae Province and decided on this method. We have already heard from our inside sources that the people of Hwanghae Province have received our previous batches of rice. Upon hearing this news, we have resolved to work harder.”

He continued, “Our organisation, through this project, aims to directly help North Korean citizens and soldiers. The bottles will most likely reach military posts in coastal areas. We hope that the rice will rouse feelings of animosity towards Kim Jong Un amongst the people. We plan to do this until the day of unification.”

Bottles filled with rice. Photo by New Focus.

The bottles disappeared quickly after being thrown into the water, heading for North Korean land. Watching the bottles float away, Kim said, “Our hope is to prove that rice is more powerful than guns, and that it will play an instrumental role in bringing closer the day of unification.”

 

Reporting by Park, Juhee.

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