Koreas celebrate 2007 summit
It’s the first time the peninsula has held a joint event for the anniversary
SEOUL/PYONGYANG — South and North Korea held their first-ever joint event to celebrate the anniversary of a 2007 summit in Pyongyang yesterday amid a growing mood of rapprochement.
About 160 South Koreans, including government officials, politicians, civic, religious and cultural figures, took part in the event in the People’s Palace of Culture in the North’s capital to commemorate the 11th anniversary of the second inter-Korean summit on October 4, 2007, which involved then-South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun and then-North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.
After the summit, the leaders signed the so-called October 4 Declaration, promising to cooperate in building mutual trust, easing tensions and fostering inter-Korean economic cooperation. The agreement was not implemented amid ensuing security tensions between the two Koreas and a change of government in the South.
The celebration was part of the agreement between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un in September.
The participants in the Pyongyang event were joined by high-ranking North Korean officials and called for faithful implementation of the recent summit agreements by their leaders.
“The history of failures to fully carry out the June 15 and October 4 declarations should not be repeated,” they said in a joint letter, referring to agreements reached in the first and second inter-Korean summit meetings in 2000 and 2007.
They also urged efforts to make the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons and nuclear threats, while working together in expanding cross-border exchanges and cooperation.
The event was also joined by high-ranking North Korean officials including the North’s nominal leader Kim Yong-nam and Ri Son-gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country.
In a speech, Kim Yong-nam called for all-out efforts to implement the summit deals reached this year between the two Koreas.
Ri expressed hope for the resumption of a tour programme to Mount Kumgang and the operation of an industrial complex in Kaesong, two major inter-Korean projects suspended years ago over chilled relations.
The South Korean delegation, led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon and ruling Democratic Party (DP) leader Lee Hae-chan, arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday. It also includes the son of former President Roh.
Later in the day, they were due to attend a mass gymnastics performance, which a government official here said will be short on propaganda. Moon also watched the mass games during his visit last month.
On the sidelines, Cho, who is in charge of inter-Korean affairs, is expected to meet with North Korean officials to discuss follow-up measures to the Moon-Kim agreement.
The unification ministry earlier estimated South Korea may pay up to around 280 million won (US$250,000) to the North for the trip. The ministry said the payment is not a violation of international sanctions on the North and that the government has been discussing the matter with the United States. — YONHAP