Gift of pine mushrooms from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to South Korea worth $1.83 million

A box of pine mushrooms given by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is pictured in North Korea, on Sept 20, 2018. PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL (THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The value of two tonnes of pine mushrooms that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent to the South as a gift on Thursday (Sept 20) is believed to be 1.5 billion won (S$1.83 million).

According to the Yangyang branch of the National Forestry Cooperative Federation, a recent winning bid for top grade natural pine mushrooms was 769,100 won per kg.

Although it is currently unknown where the mushrooms were grown or what the grade is, they are believed to be top grade ones from the mountain Chilbosan in North Hamgyong Province, considering the country's top leader sent them.

President Moon Jae-in's top spokesman said on Thursday the two tonnes of mushrooms will be sent to 4,000 South Koreans who have been separated from their families in the North since the Korean War.

The 4,000 recipients were selected based on age, allowing the oldest living members of separated families to receive 500g each of Mr Kim's gift before the Chuseok holiday that runs from Sunday to Tuesday.

Based on current assumptions, each family will be receiving about 380,000 won in mushrooms.

"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 mountain Paektusan on Thursday.

"The day will surely come when you can embrace your loved ones. We wish you good health until that day."

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