SEOUL • The value of two tonnes of pine mushrooms that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent to the South as a gift is believed to be 1.5 billion won (S$1.8 million).
Although it is not known where the mushrooms were grown, they are believed to be the top-grade variety from the Chilbosan mountain in North Hamgyong province, given that they were sent by the country's top leader.
According to South Korea's National Forestry Cooperative Federation, a recent winning bid for top-grade natural pine mushrooms was 769,100 won per kg.
President Moon Jae-in's top spokesman said the two tonnes of mushrooms sent on Thursday would be given to 4,000 South Koreans who have been separated from their families in the North since the Korean War. The recipients were selected based on age, allowing the oldest living members of the separated families to each get 500g of Mr Kim's gift.
"North Korea has sent the pine mushrooms with their heart. (The mushrooms) carry the scent of the northern mountains," Mr Moon wrote on the cards sent to the families after returning from a three-day visit to Pyongyang and the Paektu or Baekdu mountain on Thursday. "The day will surely come when you can embrace your loved ones," he added.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK