North Korea calls for joint meeting with South in August

SEOUL, June 27 (UPI) — North Korea said it delivered a public letter to the South, requesting a joint meeting in Pyongyang or Kaesong.

The statement comes less than a week after Kim Jong Un test-fired two midrange ballistic missiles.

The meeting should take place around the 71st anniversary of Korean independence from Japanese colonial rule, Pyongyang said, according to South Korean news service News 1.

The anniversary is observed in both Koreas on Aug. 15.

“To the political parties and groups of the North, South and located overseas that work for peace on the Korean peninsula and autonomous unification, North Korea’s preparatory committee on June 27 sent a public letter to more than 100 individuals, [including] South Korean parliamentarians, authorities and personnel working on North-South family reunions…calling for a joint meeting on the 71st anniversary of fatherland independence,” Pyongyang’s KCNA statement read.

North Korea suggested in its announcement the meeting be held either in Pyongyang or Kaesong, and that the gathering would “put an end to” the seven decades of national division and open a new era that could “shine a light on the dignity and honor of the Korean nation.”

Seoul dismissed the message on Monday, calling it an “obsolete propaganda offensive,” according to South Korean news service Newsis.

South Korean Unification Minister Hong Yong-pyo said the North’s refusal to engage in denuclearization dialogue makes it a challenge to engage Pyongyang.

“Presently the North has said it will not commit to denuclearization talks, suggesting talks in this situation puts [the South] in a predicament where it’s hanging on to North Korea,” Hong said Monday.

Seoul is looking for “meaningful dialogue,” Hong said.

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