S. Korean civic group urges U.S. to normalize ties with N. Korea
WASHINGTON-- A South Korean civic group held a press conference outside the White House on Monday to urge the United States to normalize ties with North Korea.
The event, organized by the 2019 Civilian Peace Delegation to U.N., came as relations between Washington and Pyongyang have been tense amid deadlocked negotiations on dismantling the regime's nuclear weapons program.
The delegation is led by members of the South Korean Committee for Implementation of the June 15 Joint Declaration, an agreement reached by the two Koreas during their first-ever summit in 2000.
The group first visited New York over the weekend to hold an international conference on peace on the Korean Peninsula, and then traveled to Washington to hold the news conference near the White House. On Wednesday the delegation plans to visit the South Korean and North Korean missions to the U.N. in New York.
"This event was planned jointly by the South, North, and the international community, and expresses our determination and desperation to realize this historic opportunity for peace on the Korean Peninsula, with the civil society playing a central role," Lee Chang-bok, the delegation chief, said.
The group blamed the current tensions on the U.S., saying Washington has failed to take a decisive step to end hostile relations with the North despite an agreement between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at their first summit in Singapore in June 2018, to work toward building a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
The delegation urged the U.S. to fulfill four steps: the full implementation of the Singapore joint statement, the immediate suspension of U.S.-led military exercises with South Korea, the immediate suspension of U.S. and United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang, and an end to all U.S. government actions that hamper the development of inter-Korean ties.
Last week the North demanded the South remove all of its facilities from a now-suspended resort on the North's Mount Kumgang, delivering an apparent ultimatum to test Seoul's willingness to resume joint projects in the face of international sanctions on the regime.
Source: Yonhap News Agency