Seoul invites Pyongyang to SDD for first time

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Seoul invites Pyongyang to SDD for first time

South Korea’s Ministry of Defense announced Friday it has issued an invitation to Pyongyang to attend the upcoming Seoul Defense Dialogue (SDD), the first time the communist regime has been invited to the regional security forum in its three-year history.

North Korea has yet to respond.

The invitation was delivered to the vice minister of the People’s Armed Forces through the telephone line at the west coast border at 10:25 a.m. on Friday, an insider from Seoul’s Defense Ministry said.

Describing the invitation’s wording, the source said it explained that the forum will touch on global issues involving “peace and security.” Whether North Korea’s nuclear program was mentioned is unknown.

“It’s the first time North Korea has been invited to the annual SDD since its 2012 launch,” said the source. “As this year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of [World War II] and [Inter-Korean] division, [the South Korean government] invited North Korea because [this year’s] key agenda correlates to those incidents.”

The 4th SDD will run from Sept. 9 to 11 at the Westin Chosun Hotel in central Seoul. Some 250 vice defense ministers and security experts from 33 countries are expected to participate.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, JEONG YONG-SOO [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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