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North Korea offers to pay debt in ginseng

11-Aug-2010

North Korea has offered to pay off part of its dept to a former communist state with a consignment of ginseng, according to press reports.

Czech officials yesterday confirmed that the regime in Pyongyang had offered the equivalent of $500,000 of ginseng to settle 5 per cent of its $10m debt.

Ginseng is a root used in supplements and some drinks, typically taken to enhance stamina and reduce feelings of fatigue and physical stress. It is also believed to have an anti-cancer function and has been reported to normalize blood glucose levels, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce the risk of obesity.

According to comments in the Czech Republic’s MF Dnes newspaper, the nation’s deputy finance minister, Tomas Zidek, said that zinc would be more useful than ginseng as a commodity payment.