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Inter-Korean activities planned

Civic group hopes to mark historical events in upcoming months
June 26,2018
A South Korean civic group advocating for inter-Korean cooperation that returned from a four-day visit to Pyongyang last week announced Monday that it had agreed to push joint civilian events to be held with North Korea to mark key shared events in the upcoming months.

The Seoul-based South Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration was the first civilian organization under the Moon Jae-in government to be granted a permit to visit the North.

In a press conference held at its headquarters in Jongno District, central Seoul, the members of the committee revealed the results of the 15-member South Korean delegation’s trip to Pyongyang from Wednesday to Saturday of last week.

During the visit, the South’s team met with delegates from the North Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, led by its chairman, Pak Myong-chol.

The June 15 South-North joint declaration was adopted following the three-day summit between then-President Kim Dae-jung and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June 2000 and paved the way for inter-Korean cooperation including reunions of families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

The committee pledged in a statement to work toward implementing the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration following President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s summit at the inter-Korean truce village.

It also designated July 4 to Oct. 4 as a period of implementing the Panmunjom Declaration, vowing to actively take part in activities “to ease tensions and alleviate the threat of war.”

A joint statement was signed by the two Koreas on July 4, 1972, the first of its kind since the division of the Korean Peninsula. The Oct. 4 joint declaration was made following the 2007 summit between South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and Kim Jong-il.

The committee also discussed with their North Korean counterparts ways to hold joint events to mark the Oct. 3 Foundation Day, the Oct. 4 joint declaration and other special occasions. Next year also marks the 100th anniversary of the March 1 movement in 1919 resisting colonial rule by Japan.

Holding a civilian event for the Aug. 15 Liberation Day is being discussed, it added, “based on the situation,” indicating concrete plans for a celebration were not made during this visit.

“The two committees met jointly for the first time in nine years,” said Lee Chang-bok, chairman of the committee. “Our visit to Pyongyang was possible due to the inter-Korean and the North Korea-U.S. summits building a climate of peace. It is significant that we are the first civic group to visit the North [under this administration].”

Monday marked the 68th anniversary of the Korean War.

BY SARAH KIM [kim.sarah@joongang.co.kr]