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North Korea Cancels Anti-US Demonstration

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North Korea has cancelled its yearly anti-United States demonstration.

The Associated Press reports that the event in which people living in the capital, Pyongyang, wave flags and shout anti-U.S. messages will not be held.

Last year’s event reportedly involved 100,000 demonstrators.

Officials did not release an official statement about the decision, but AP reporters confirmed Monday that it would not be held.

North Korea has reduced anti-U.S. messages over the past several months. North Korean media usually are strongly critical of the U.S. especially around the anniversary date of the beginning of the Korean War.

June 25 marks the 68th year since the beginning of the Korean War. Many observances took place in South Korea involving officials including South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Easing of anti-U.S. messages since leaders’ meeting

North Korean state media have shown many reports, photographs and videos of the recent meeting between the country’s leader and the U.S. president.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12.

The two signed a document calling for, among other things, efforts to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

Also, North and South Korean officials met last week over the issue of families separated by the Korean War.

South Korean Jo Soon-jeon, 83, right, hugs her North Korean youngest sister Jo Kwi Nyo during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting in 2015.
South Korean Jo Soon-jeon, 83, right, hugs her North Korean youngest sister Jo Kwi Nyo during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting in 2015.

Officials agreed to permit a reunion of 100 separated family members to meet on August 20 to 26 at the Mount Kumgang area in North Korea.

However, South Korean media criticized the small number of Koreans included. The Korea Times called on North Korea “to pay more attention to humanitarian issues. The Korean Herald said the North should “show a more active and forward looking attitude.”

Millions of Korean families were forced apart by the division of the country at the end of World War II and the Korean War. The Ministry of Unification says there are now about 56,000 registered separated family members in South Korea. But almost all are over 70 years old and each year there are fewer survivors.

The last inter-Korean family reunion took place in 2015. It involved 200 families from each side.

And on Sunday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said he is hopeful North Korea would soon return the remains of U.S. service members killed during the Korean War. North Korea has already returned the remains of over 200 U.S. soldiers.

Mattis is on a trip to Asia in which he will visit Japan, South Korea and China.

I’m Mario Ritter.

Brian Padden and AP reported this story for VOA News. Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.

Words in This Story

reunion –n. an act of getting people together again after they have been apart or separated

attitude –n. the way you think and feel about someone or something

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