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N. Korea proposes joint event to mark 2000 declaration anniversary
SEOUL, May 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has proposed holding a joint event with South Korea to mark the 2000 signing of a landmark inter-Korean declaration, a civic organization here said Thursday.

   June 15 is the 13th anniversary of the signing of the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration between liberal-minded late South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. The landmark declaration laid out a reconciliatory mode for the Korean Peninsula, pledging the two countries to jointly promote reunification and other economic and cultural cooperation.

   The organization said North Korea's body in charge of pushing for the implementation of the five-point reconciliatory agreement sent the proposal by fax.

   The North proposed Mount Kumgang or the city of Kaesong as likely venues for the joint ceremony, saying "The only way to recover North-South relations and open the gate for autonomous reunification lie in the (efforts) to implement the joint declaration," according to the South Korean group.

   An official at the Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean affairs, said the government will make a decision on the proposal after considering the overall conditions of inter-Korean relations.

   The Koreas had annually held joint events marking the agreement before suspending them in 2009 under the hard-line stance of former President Lee Myung-bak.

   The North has consistently demanded that the South abide by the reconciliatory agreement while restrained inter-Korean relations led to the suspension of their trade and other exchange.

   "One of the reasons behind the North proposing Kaesong rests on the North's hope to indirectly express its willingness to resume the Kaesong Industrial Complex," an official at the South civil group said, referring to the jointly-run venture in the North Korean border city of Kaesong.

   The complex has remained closed since early April after the North shut it down in protest against Seoul's joint military exercises with Washington. The official called for government cooperation and approval needed to hold the event in the North.

   pbr@yna.co.kr
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