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Tuesday, 8 August, 2000, 11:18 GMT 12:18 UK
Hyundai takes cattle to N Korea
Cattle truck
500 cattle set off for North Korea
Executives from the South Korean conglomerate Hyundai have crossed into North Korea with a gift of 500 cattle.

The delegation is headed by Chung Mong-hun, the son of Hyundai's founder Chung Ju-yung.

map
Mr Chung and six colleagues hope to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to discuss building a mountain resort and industrial complex on the west coast.

The elder Mr Chung has played a key role in the warming of North-South ties that culminated in the landmark Korean summit in Pyongyang in June.

He took two gifts of cattle to North Korea in 1998 and has launched a tourist service to the North's Mount Kumgang.

North Korea has suffered severe food shortages in recent years and now relies on international charities to feed its people.

Mr Chung was also accompanied on his trip by six trailers carrying equipment to build a gymnasium in Pyongyang.

Japan

Cattle bound for North Korea
Mr Chung senior has already sent 1000 cattle North
As Mr Chung crossed the border with his cattle, Japan dispatched a mission to North Korea to check whether its food aid had been properly distributed.

Some Japanese government officials and politicians have expressed concern that the food aid could be diverted to North Korea's military instead of to starving children and old people.

Japan pledged about 100,000 tonnes of rice for North Korea in March of which 90,000 tonnes have been delivered.

The three-member mission will visit orphanages, kindergartens, old people's homes and warehouses, a Japanese Foreign Ministry official said.

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See also:

08 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
Koreans prepare for historic reunions
31 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Koreas reach breakthrough deal
31 May 00 | Business
Hyundai founder steps down
27 Oct 98 | Asia-Pacific
Korean cows breach cold war frontier
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