June 01, 2017 12:58
The Unification Ministry on Wednesday approved a request by several civic groups here to contact North Korea and discuss joint celebrations to mark the 17th anniversary of the historic inter-Korean summit in 2000. The last anniversary celebration took place in 2008.
A ministry official said, "Just like any other civilian exchange, we approved the application... as long as such contacts do not damage the framework of international sanctions against North Korea."
The groups want to discuss the schedule and locations of events with North Korean officials by fax, e-mail, parcel messages and telephone calls. If the North agrees, a South Korean delegation will travel to Pyongyang.
North and South Korean organizers already met in Shenyang, China last month and discussed holding the event either in Kaesong or Pyongyang, and marking Aug. 15 Liberation Day together in Seoul.
The ministry official said, "Once the schedule for the event is decided and we get a formal application for the organizers to visit North Korea, we will consider the request."
In 2001, 400 South Korean representatives visited North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort for a forum marking the first anniversary of the summit. In 2005, a joint ceremony was organized by the South Korean government, while then-Unification Minister Chung Dong-young traveled to Pyongyang and met then-leader Kim Jong-il.
For the eighth anniversary in 2008, 20 South Korean representatives traveled to Mt. Kumgang, but Seoul has since refused to authorize any travel to the North.
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