N. Korea marks Liberation Day with own events

August 16, 2015
North Korea holds a closing event for its celebration of the 70th anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule at Panmunjom, the truce village inside the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, on Aug. 15, 2015. (KCNA-Yonhap)

North Korea holds a closing event for its celebration of the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule at Panmunjom, the truce village inside the demilitarized zone that divides the two Koreas, on Aug. 15, 2015. (KCNA-Yonhap)

This photo captured from North Korean state television shows the country's leader, Kim Jong-un (front), and North Korean military officials paying their respects to Kim's late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and late father, Kim Jong-il, at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on Aug. 15, 2015. (Yonhap)

This photo captured from North Korean state television shows the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un (front), and North Korean military officials paying their respects to Kim’s late grandfather, Kim Il-sung, and late father, Kim Jong-il, at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang on Aug. 15, 2015. (Yonhap)

SEOUL (Yonhap) — North Korea commemorated the 70th anniversary of Korea’s independence from Japan, its state media said Sunday, after the two Koreas failed to agree on terms for a joint event.

The Conference for National Unification, a series of events marking Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 colonial rule in the North, concluded on Saturday in Panmunjom, the truce village inside the demilitarized zone on the inter-Korean border, after a three-day run, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said.

The conference started on Mt. Paekdu, the highest mountain on the Korean Peninsula also known to symbolize the North’s ruling family. It has since made stops at the birthplace of late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung, among other locations.

South Korea had suggested holding simultaneous events in Seoul and Pyongyang to mark the key anniversary, with delegations from each country visiting one another. The North, however, had insisted on being the main host, with South Korean officials invited to visit.

The two ended up celebrating separately, with the official South Korean event taking place in the northern Seoul district of Daehangno.

Organizers of the North Korean events said the two Koreas must stave off “forces that oppose and challenge inter-Korean unification and that deny all joint declarations made by the two countries.”

“Ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula is a precondition for the peace and security in Northeast Asia and the world,” they said in a statement. “Let us strengthen our alliance with global forces that support justice and peace.”

Later Saturday, a fireworks display was staged in Pyongyang and broadcast live on state media, the KCNA said.

 

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