Seoul calls on North Korea to respond to dialogue offer

Kaesong city is seen across the demilitarised zone (DMZ) separating North Korea from South Korea in this picture taken from Dora observatory in Paju, 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul

South Korea’s Unification Ministry on Monday called on North Korea to respond to Seoul’s dialogue offer ahead of the 21st anniversary of the June 15, 2000, joint declaration.

Ministry spokesperson said while addressing a press briefing that the government urges the North to return to the spirit of the declaration and positively respond to the call for dialogue and cooperation between the two Koreas, reports Xinhua news agency.

She said the government will make best efforts to move forward the Korean Peninsula peace process by continuing to implement the inter-Korean agreements, including the joint declaration.

The declaration was announced during the summit in Pyongyang in June 2000 between late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il.

The South Korean government will hold no official event on Tuesday to mark the 21st anniversary of the declaration, but several other gatherings would be reportedly hosted by civilians, municipal governments, and Parliament.

The spokesperson noted that the declaration opened a new era for reconciliation, cooperation, peace and unification between the two Koreas and laid foundation for the Korean Peninsula peace process.

The inter-Korean talks have been stalled since the second summit between incumbent North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and then US President Donald Trump ended without an agreement in February 2019 in the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

Tensions escalated between the two Koreas when Pyongyang destroyed the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong in June 2020 in protest against the anti-North Korean propaganda leaflets flown from the South Korean side.

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