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Int'l water body invites N. Korea to forum in S. Korea

According to Yonhap News,

(SEJONG=Yonhap News) The international council on water management has sent an invitation to North Korea to attend a forum to be held in South Korea this year, officials here said Thursday.

"The France-based World Water Council (WWC) has delivered an invitation for North Korea to the World Water Forum through the North's diplomatic mission to UNESCO in Paris," an official from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport said.

The official, while speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Seoul government also plans to invite the North to the international forum slated for April 12-17 in the country's southern city of Daegu and the bordering North Gyeongsang Province.

The World Water Forum, a triennial event, tackles a wide range of water-related problems, such as water management, pollution and access to water supply.

This year's event, the seventh of its kind, is expected to attract over 35,000 people from around 170 countries, according to its local organizers.

North Korea currently is not a member of the World Water Council.

"I understand the WWC extended an invitation to North Korea, considering the country's special relationship with South Korea," the ministry official said.

Pyongyang reportedly has not responded to the invitation.

Ministry officials said bilateral talks between Seoul and Pyongyang may be possible should the latter decide to take part in the Daegu forum, noting the North is believed to have over 50 dams, most of which are aged and in need of repairs.

"Both South and North Korea may gain in various areas if the North takes part in this year's event," another official said. "They may also be able to contribute to promoting peace and cooperation on the Korean Peninsula by establishing a dialogue channel."

Inter-Korean dialogue has become rare in recent years, especially since South Korea's right-leaning Saenuri Party came to power seven years ago.

The two Koreas remain divided and technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

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Source Text

Source: Yonhap News (February 26, 2015)