Kim Jong-mushroom? Myco-steps toward diplomacy.

Photo:The Korean Herald

Back in September of this year the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un gifted two tons of Tricholoma matsutake (aka matsutake in Japan or songyi in Korea), valued at $2.6 million, to the South Korean people for the Korean Thanksgiving. The recipients of the mushrooms were South Koreans separated from their families in North Korea during the Korean War. This act of good will followed a series of peace talks that resulted Panmunjon Declaration moving the two countries closer to reunification and denuclearization. The gift was initially well received by the South Koreans with President Moon Jae-in stating, “I hope these mushrooms, with the fragrance of the North preserved, can offer a little comfort. The day of embracing your family and seeing their faces will surely come. Please be healthy until that day.” However, the South Koreans delayed distributing the mushroom until they were tested for radiation levels. Radiation was detected (0.034 μsv) but it was well below the tolerance levels (1,000 μsv) set by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The mushrooms were released to their intended recipients this past Wednesday (11/7) bring the two countries one myco-step closer to peace.



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