N. Korea invites S. Korea for talks on joint event on Liberation Day

July 22, 2015

SEOUL, July 21 (Yonhap) — A North Korean civic group has sent an invitation to its South Korean counterpart to meet in the North this week to discuss a joint event for the 70th anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule, a government official said Tuesday.

The North’s preparatory group for a joint anniversary proposed on Monday to the South’s group that the two sides meet in the North’s border city of Kaesong on Thursday to discuss the preparation for a joint anniversary event on Liberation Day, which falls on Aug. 15.

“The North has sent the invitation, but the South’s group has not submitted an application for a visit to the North,” an official at the Unification Ministry said on background.

The official said that the government plans to review whether to approve the request when and if the group submits one for the trip.

The move came as North Korea has rejected South Korea’s recent offers for talks between parliamentary speakers and a global security forum, claiming Seoul should first give up its confrontational policy toward Pyongyang.

But in what could be seen as a conciliatory gesture, the North, albeit at the non-government level, has proposed to have preparatory talks for the joint event.

The two sides failed to hold a joint ceremony in June to mark the 15th anniversary of an inter-Korean summit as the North abruptly proposed holding them separately.

South Korea earlier said that it will encourage its civic groups to increase inter-Korean exchanges in non-political areas in a bid to promote national unity.