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N. Korea incorporates key farming county into Pyongyang

All Headlines 10:30 February 29, 2012

SEOUL, Feb. 29 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has incorporated a key farming county into Pyongyang in what could be an attempt to provide a stable food supply for loyal residents in the capital.

The North had reduced the size of Pyongyang by relinquishing most of the capital's south and a portion of its west to neighboring North Hwanghae Province, South Korea's Unification Ministry said last year.

The move reduced the city's population by about 500,000 to 2.5 million.

However, the North has now incorporated Kangnam County in North Hwanghae Province back into Pyongyang, according to a 2011 almanac map from North Korea, a copy of which was obtained by Yonhap News Agency.

"The move appears to be aimed at using Kangnam County as a supplier of food to Pyongyang residents as the rural area is a major agricultural producer," said Kwon Tae-jin, an expert on North Korea at the Korea Rural Economic Institute in Seoul.

The North has relied on international handouts since the late 1990s when it suffered a massive famine that was estimated to have killed 2 million people.

Pyongyang is home to the ruling elite that governs the country through rations and a military-first policy. It is located in the southwest region of the country, which is believed to have a total population of 24 million.

entropy@yna.co.kr
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