About the Author
Dagyum Ji is a senior NK News correspondent based in Seoul. She previously worked for Reuters TV.
Seoul says it expects to hold a “practical and detailed discussion” with Pyongyang to resume inter-Korean exchanges in the field of culture, art and sport following this month’s planned DPRK-ROK summit, the South Korean Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (MCST) said on Monday.
Officials from the two Koreas reportedly discussed ways to boost cooperation during a visit by a ROK delegation to Pyongyang last week.
During a meeting last Monday, ROK culture minister Do Jong-whan and DPRK minister of Physical Culture and Sports Kim Il Guk agreed that the two Koreas would march under a joint flag at the opening ceremony of the Asia Games in August.
The two ministers also discussed the North’s participation in the upcoming 52nd World Shooting Championship, held between August and September this year in Changwon, South Korea, MCST spokesperson Hwang Seong-un said during a press briefing on Monday.
Do also held discussions with DPRK minister of culture Pak Chun Nam over the resumption of the projects including the joint completion of a Korean “Grand dictionary of unified Korean language.”
North and South Korean linguists held 25 meetings between 2005 and 2015 on the project.
The co-excavation of cultural properties was also on the agenda at the meeting between Do and Pak last week.
The two Koreas collaborated seven times on the excavation of Manwoldae Palace in Kaesong, though cultural exchanges have been on hold since the Park Geun-hye administration’s decision to close the Kaesong Industrial Complex (KIC) in February 2016.
“We expect that a practical and detailed discussion will be held after the inter-Korean summit which is scheduled to take place on April 27,” Hwang told assembled media during Monday’s briefing.
The South Korean government believes Seoul and Pyongyang will discuss “specific ways” to resume literary exchanges following a planned meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on April 27.
The North Korean side has also proposed re-publishing the magazine Tongil Munhak (Unification Literature), which was jointly released three times between 2008 and 2009.
The South’s Yonhap News Agency in 2009 reported that the country’s customs had seized the first and second edition of the magazine due to it containing words such as “suryong” (leader) – a potential violation of ROK laws against the dissemination of North Korean propaganda.
The literature was later permitted to enter the South when the offending phrases were covered with tape.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also called on the two Koreas to resume cultural and sports exchanges following a concert last week, ROK minister Do reportedly relayed to DPRK minister Kim Il Guk.
Kim also specifically raised the possibility of sports exchanges in basketball.
The two Koreas previously hosted the so-called “Unification Basketball Tournament” inter-Korean basketball matches in September and December 1999 in Pyongyang and Seoul.
In October 2003, too, an inter-Korean game was held to mark the opening of Ryugyong Jong Ju Yong Gymnasium.
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Uriminzokkiri