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"Invitation to Pyongyang not politically motivated"

Posted October. 05, 2000 19:30,   


North Korea said Thursday that the invitations it extended to the leaders of South Korean political parties and social organizations to visit the North on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Worker¡¯s Party of Korea Oct. 10 were not politically motivated but "only meant to allow them to share in the festivities in accordance with age-old Korean customs and tradition."

Taking issue with the South's stance, which regards the invitations as part of "a united front strategy of the North," state mouthpiece Pyongyang Broadcasting branded Seoul's reaction "a result of its unwillingness to abide by the June 15 joint declaration and reluctance to move inter-Korean relations toward reconciliation and cooperation."

Meanwhile, six members of the Democratic Labor Party, including chairman Kwon Young-Kil, applied to the Unification Ministry for approval of their plans to visit Pyongyang. Along with the DLP members, more than 50 leaders of 8 activist groups such as the South Korean headquarters of the Pan-National Alliance for the Unification of the Fatherland have expressed their intention to accept North Korea's invitation.

The Seoul government reserved its official response to the issue, which it said will be decided when relevant legal and procedural matters, popular sentiment and the developing relations with North Korea are taken into account.

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com