On June 27, 2016, North Korea sent a letter to South Korea’s prime minister, the chair of its national assembly, and civil organizations including members of the June 15th Committee for Reunification of Korea to propose a convening of Koreans on the peninsula and overseas to discuss reunification at Pyongyang or Kaesong close to the August 15 commemoration of Korea’s liberation from Japanese colonialism. North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that the purpose of this convening is to encourage efforts for the realization of peaceful and self-reliant reunification of the Korean Peninsula. Political parties, civil organizations, and individuals of North Korea, South Korea, and overseas Korean communities are invited to participate in this convention and generate ideas for how to facilitate talks for reunification among Korean people.
The South Korean government responded dismissively to this invitation. It insisted that its stance will continue to be that talks about reunification will not proceed until North Korea commits to denuclearization. There are, however, South Korean and overseas Korean civil organizations that have welcomed the invitation and expressed interest in taking advantage of any opportunity that could help to bring North, South and overseas Koreans together to meet and talk about reunification of the peninsula. Both the labor and farmers’ divisions of the June 15th South Korean Committee for Reunification of Korea have shown their support for the August 15 joint convention and intend to put their efforts into ensuring that it will happen. North Korea has requested for official contact between invited individuals and organizations in July to discuss the specific plans for the organization and facilitation of the August 15 joint convention.