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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

North Korea 16:00 July 12, 2019

SEOUL, July 12 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

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Parliamentary speaker mulls sending delegation to N. Korea

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- National Assembly Speaker Moon Hee-sang is expected to push for sending a delegation of lawmakers to North Korea in a bid to lay the groundwork for an inter-Korean parliamentary meeting, officials said Monday.

Moon plans to propose the idea to North Korea this week in a shift from his plan for an immediate inter-Korean parliamentary event, according to the parliamentary officials. Moon will hold a press conference Friday to mark the first anniversary of his inauguration.

"A parliamentary meeting between the two Koreas could be burdensome over the agenda and results," a National Assembly official said.

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N. Korea yet to respond to Seoul's invitation to int'l swimming event

SEOUL, July 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has not responded to South Korea's invitation to join an international swimming event set to kick off later this week, the unification ministry said Monday.

South Korea and FINA earlier invited North Korea to the biennial 2019 FINA World Championships to be held from Friday to July 28 in Gwangju and Yeosu, its two southern cities. FINA is the French abbreviation of the International Swimming Federation.

"We have nothing new to share with regard to the issue of the North's participation in the world swimming championships," Lee Sang-min, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing in response to a question as to whether the North has reacted to the invitation.

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Seoul seeks to advance inter-Korean ties on peace mood created by Panmunjom meeting

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Tuesday he will work hard to turn the peace mood created by the recent surprise meeting among the leaders of the two Koreas and the United States into a chance to further advance inter-Korean relations.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump met briefly at the truce village of Panmunjom on June 30. After the three-way encounter, Kim and Trump held a one-on-one closed-door meeting and agreed to resume working-level nuclear talks within a few weeks.

"(We) will work to make the positive trend newly created on the Korean Peninsula result in advancing inter-Korean relations," Kim said in a speech at a forum in Seoul. "While making continued efforts to implement South-North joint declarations, (we) will explore creative ways to move inter-Korean relations forward."

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Ministry rebuffs report that settlement support for N.K. defectors halved

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry denied a media report on Tuesday that its budget for North Korean defectors has sharply declined, adding that the assistance has been on a steady rise in the past few years.

The conservative daily Chosun Ilbo earlier reported that government support for civic groups' projects to help North Korean defectors' settlement here has halved, without citing any sources.

"No. It is absolutely not true," a ministry official told reporters on condition of anonymity. "The budget set aside for such projects intended to help North Korean defectors' settlement has been rather steadily on the rise."

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Civic group chief urges Seoul to work harder to restart Kaesong complex, Mount Kumgang tours

SEOUL, July 10 (Yonhap) -- A civic group chief urged the South Korean government on Wednesday to intensify efforts to resume a now-shuttered industrial park in North Korea and suspended tours to a scenic mountain in the communist state.

"It is quite disappointing that it has been two years since the government was inaugurated ... but our diplomatic and security lines have failed to persuade the U.S. Congress and the White House to realize how important the Mount Kumgang tours and the Kaesong Industrial Complex are," said Kim Hong-gul, the head of the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation (KCRC), during a forum in Seoul.

"If necessary, it should have made efforts to draw support from the private sector and use public diplomacy to promote those issues and persuade the U.S. and the international community over the matters," he added.

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N. Korea yet to confirm whether to hold meeting of co-heads this week: official

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has not confirmed yet whether it will send its chief of a joint liaison office for a weekly meeting with his South Korean counterpart this week, a unification ministry official said Thursday.

That raises the possibility that a meeting of the liaison office chiefs could be held Friday for the first time since February's no-deal summit between the United States and the North, as Pyongyang has usually notified the South early of its decision to skip a weekly meeting.

When the two Koreas opened the liaison office in the North's border city of Kaesong, they agreed to hold a weekly meeting of their chief liaison officers to discuss cross-border issues.

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Minister vows efforts to help Pyongyang-Washington talks produce practical progress

SEOUL, July 11 (Yonhap) -- Unification Minister Kim Yeon-chul said Thursday that South Korea will work hard to help upcoming working-level nuclear talks between North Korea and the United States produce practical progress in resolving the denuclearization conundrum.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un held a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border in late June and agreed to resume working-level talks to discuss denuclearization within a few weeks.

"The government will make special efforts to lead the upcoming North Korea-U.S. working-level talks to produce practical progress in the resolution of the denuclearization problem," Unification Minister Kim said during a forum in Seoul.
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