15th Anniversary of Historic Inter-Korea Summit To Be Held in June

kpopluv, May 7, 2015, 8:48 a.m.

Civilian representatives from South and North Korea agreed Thursday to hold joint events to mark the 15th anniversary of a historic inter-Korean summit in mid-June, a government source said.  The agreement came as the two sides completed three-day preparatory talks in the northeastern Chinese city of Shenyang earlier in the day to discuss plans for the joint celebration, the first in five years.

The source said that the South has proposed to hold the events between June 14 and 16 in Seoul. The two sides plan to release a joint statement about the celebration on Friday. The anniversary marks the June 2000 summit between then-South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il that produced a landmark agreement, known as the June 15 Joint Declaration.

The declaration outlines reconciliation and economic cooperation between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.  The summit commemorations were last held in 2008 on Mount Kumgang, a scenic resort on North Korea's east coast.

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of Korea's liberation from Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule as well as inter-Korean division. The relations between the two Koreas have been strained in recent years as North Korea has continued to make provocative acts by launching nuclear tests and missiles.

Inter-Korean exchanges have been suspended since 2010, when South Korea imposed punitive sanctions on North Korea to punish the North for its deadly torpedoing of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March of that year.

Despite the sanctions, Seoul has unveiled plans to spur civilian inter-Korean exchanges to mark the 70th anniversary. It said that the government will help boost civilian inter-Korean exchanges in such areas as culture, sports and history to help "restore national unity and open channels for cooperation."

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