The June 15 South Korean Committee has received a positive response from its counterparts in the North to host an inter-Korean event in Pyongyang next week to celebrate the 17th anniversary of the June 15th North–South Joint Declaration, the NGO said on Monday night.
While initial reports in South Korea claimed that the North Korean side had cancelled the event, the committee said such claims were unfounded and that they will soon contact the South Korean government for approval to visit Pyongyang next week.
“Since May 31, when our government (South Korea) has allowed us to make inter-Korean contacts with North Korean counterparts, we have been exchanging the details of the future meeting, including its location,” the statement said.
The news that Pyongyang will accept the visit comes a day after the malaria-prevention NGO the Korean Sharing Movement (KSM) was refused permission to visit the North by DPRK authorities.
“We have delayed our visit to North Korea as the North declined and we can’t wait forever,” Kang Young-sik, general secretary of the NGO, told NK News yesterday.
Kang said that the North had taken issue with the adoption on Friday by the UN Security Council of Resolution 2356 and the South Korean government’s response to the DPRK’s continued missile test-launches.
But the June 15 Committee has, so far, not faced such hurdles.
“On June 5th (Monday) the June 15 North Korean Committee had displayed Pyongyang’s concerns over the fact that Seoul is taking part in the international sanctions,” the statement added. “But at the same time, it said they are trying their best to host the successful joint event in Pyongyang, but not at Kaesong.”
Kaesong, the North Korean city adjacent to the now-shuttered inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) was originally discussed in South Korea, including by former KIC business owners, as a potential location for the joint ceremony.
The June 15 South Korean Committee has decided to accept the North’s proposition of hosting the next week’s event in Pyongyang, the statement said.
With only nine days left until June 15, the director of the committee, Choi Eun-a, told NK News during a phone call on Tuesday that the group needs “a couple more days to finalize the details of the event.”
“After they are outlined, we will make a request to receive permission from the (Seoul) government to visit the North,” said Choi, adding that it is possible the request will be made before the end of the week.
South Korea’s Ministry of Unification (MOU) was unable to be reached for comment.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: June 15 committee
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