Posted June. 15, 2005 04:23,
The fifth anniversary of the June 15 joint declaration opened in the afternoon of June 14 at Kim Il Sung stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea. A 40-member government delegation led by Unification Minister Chung Dong-young participated in the celebration for the first time ever.
Baek Nak-chung, chairman of the South Korean preparation commission for the celebration, said in his opening remarks, We have put into action our will for reconciliation, unity, and reunification over the last five years, following the way that the June 15 declaration presented, adding, Let us make this year, the 60th anniversary of the division of the peninsula, into a year opening a transitional phase for peace and reunification.
Prior to the official opening, some 500 members of a civic delegation from the two Koreas and overseas marched the two-kilometer stretch between the Chollima Statue in the center of Pyongyang to Kim Il Sung stadium amid cheering from Pyongyang citizens.
The 295-member South Korean private delegation left Incheon International Airport on Korean Air Flight KE815 at 9:05 a.m. on June 14. The delegation arrived at Sunan Airport in Pyongyang at 10:00 a.m. via the direct line passing the West Sea. They were warmly welcomed by Ahn Gyeong Ho, chairman of North Koreas preparation commission, and Kim Jeong Ho, vice chairman of the North Korean office of the Pan-Korean Alliance for Reunification.
Ahn greeted Park Yong-gil (86), wife of the late Rev. Moon Ik-hwan and honorary chair of the Souths preparation commission. He took and held Parks hands, saying, How are you? Welcome.
In particular, the North exercised great hospitality to Hyundai Asan Chairwoman Hyun Jung-eun and her daughter Jung Ji-yi. North officials immediately ushered them to a VIP room as soon as Kim Yun-kyu, vice chairman of Hyundai Asan, got off the plane, and introduced them.
Minister Chung Dong-young, who visited Pyongyang for the first time ever since his inauguration, held a press conference at an office for the event in Samcheong-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, before leaving for airport. He said in the press conference, We will have fruitful inter-Korean ministerial-level meetings from June 21 to 24 after the celebration ends, through which we will fully normalize and develop inter-Korean relations.
Lim Dong-won, former Unification Minister, said, It is very touching. I feel the same deep emotion that I felt five years ago, adding, I will visit Pyongyang in pursuit of public-private cooperation to continue inter-Korean relations based on the spirit of the joint declaration.
Flight KE9815 was expected to leave Incheon International Airport at 3:00 p.m. with the government delegation on board, but was delayed two hours at the request of Pyongyang.
With the delegation on board by 2:40 p.m., Bae Jong-tae, pilot of the flight, announced at around 3:20 p.m., The Norths military authorities have notified us that we cannot land due to air training maneuvers. Ill let you know the time of take-off later.
Bae made a second announcement 25 minutes later, saying, The North requested us to delay our take-off by one-and-a-half hours, as Pyongyang is having a heavy thunderstorm.
The delegation got off the plane and waited until they finally took off at 5:00 p.m.