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Assembly Speaker Chung invites N. Korean counterpart to regional forum in Seoul

All Headlines 15:56 June 04, 2017

SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's National Assembly Speaker Chung Sye-kyun is working to invite his North Korean counterpart to an upcoming meeting to be held in Seoul involving the parliamentary leaders of many countries, official sources said Sunday.

Chung's office insiders said the second Eurasia Parliamentary Speakers' meeting will be held in Seoul on June 26-28 and involve parliamentary leaders and speakers from 41 countries in the region.

The annual event was jointly established by South Korean and Russian parliamentary speakers. Its inaugural meeting was held in Moscow in 2016.

The invitation for North Korea's parliamentary speaker to attend the meeting had been repeatedly extended since last year, according to officials from the South Korean speaker's office.

The latest such invitation was extended to Choe Thae-bok, chairman of the North's Supreme People's Assembly, by Chung at the Inter-Parliamentary Union Assembly held in Dhaka, Bangladesh in April, they said.

Choe, if he comes, will be the highest North Korean official to visit South Korea since October 2014 when a delegation led by Choe Ryong-hae, currently a vice chairman of the ruling People's Party central committee, visited.

Dialogue, let alone visits, between North and South Korea have been nearly nonexistent under Seoul's two former conservative administrations.

Seoul's new Moon Jae-in administration has stressed the need to resume dialogue, though it has yet to take any action toward such an end amid North Korea's repeated missile provocations.

Pyongyang has fired at least three long and medium-range ballistic missiles since the Moon Jae-in administration came into office on May 10.

Seoul strongly condemned the missile launches that also violated U.N. Security Council resolutions that prohibits the reclusive country from carrying out missile tests.

bdk@yna.co.kr
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