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China welcomes Seoul's permission for NGO's contact with N. Korea on summit anniv.

All Headlines 18:20 June 01, 2017

SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- China on Thursday welcomed South Korea's decision the previous day to permit a civic group to contact North Koreans to prepare for a joint event to mark an inter-Korean summit anniversary slated for next month.

Responding to a question at a regular press briefing on China's stance towards the Unification Ministry's decision, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, "This is a positive signal coming out of North Korea polices under the new administration of South Korea," adding China welcomes the flexible approach to the North by Seoul.

The decision -- which came just weeks after liberal President Moon Jae-in took office in Seoul -- is widely seen as a sign of a thaw between South and North Korea.

It may lead to the first joint commemoration of the 2000 summit in nine years despite heightened tensions over the North's nuclear and missile programs.

On Tuesday, the non-government organization made the request for government approval for a plan to meet its North Korean counterpart to discuss the 17th anniversary of the first meeting of the two Koreas' leaders held on June 15, 2000.

Hua also said South and North Korea's mutual contact to relax tensions has a significant meaning in resolving issues pertaining to the Korean Peninsula through reconciliation, cooperation, dialogue and negotiations.

The leaders of the two Koreas produced a joint declaration during their landmark summit in 2000 that paved the way for eased military tensions and economic cooperation after decades of hostility.

The two sides had alternated hosting joint celebrations of the summit in the past but the joint anniversary events were suspended in 2008.

In 2007, the leaders of the two Koreas also held a second summit and produced a deal calling for massive South Korean investment in the North's key industrial sectors, including shipbuilding.

namsh@yna.co.kr
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