South Korean group hoping to import North Korean beer

A South Korean group is seeking the proper authorisation to import North Korea’s famous Taedonggang beer although trade sanctions between the two Koreas are still in place despite a recent warming of relations.

The Association for Asia Pacific Peace Exchange said on Tuesday it “officially” obtained the rights to distribute the beer and that an agreement was reached with the National Reconciliation Council, a North Korean body, UPI reported citing South Korea’s daily newspaper Munhwa Ilbo.

The chairman of the association argued that obtaining distribution rights did not violate the current economic sanctions as it has yet to gain official permission from the South Korean government.

“To earn a right to do business with a North Korean civic association has nothing to do with receiving permission from the North Korean government,” Ahn said. “We have already negotiated plans to change the design of the brand and beer bottles.”

If the association is granted the permission, it plans to import 1,029 bottles of Taedonggang beer, over 300 bottles of soju as well as another North Korean beer called Kyunghung and various snacks.

Northern Korean beer was previously made available in the southern side in the early 2000s when the two countries engaged in civil exchanges.

The hermit country of North Korea is said to be brewing some quality beer, which led an Economist article to bash the South for brewing “boring” beer and say that, “brewing remains just about the only useful activity at which North Korea beats the South.”

Earlier in February this year, North Korea’s Taedonggang brewery launched an “exclusive” new beer made with wheat instead of barley, according to the country’s state-run news.

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