SEOUL, July 5 (Xinhua) -- South Korea's ruling Democratic Party on Friday asked the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to participate in the South Korea-hosted world swimming competition set to open next week.
Lee Hae-chan, chairman of the Democratic Party, told a supreme council meeting that he wanted to sincerely ask the DPRK once again to join in the world swimming championships to serve the meaning of the competition's slogan "Dive into Peace" better through the DPRK's participation.
Lee's remarks were made in the southwestern city of Gwangju, where the 2019 FINA World Aquatics Championships was slated to be held from July 12-28, according to local media reports.
The DPRK had yet to respond to South Korea's invitation to send athletes to the swimming event, but expectations ran high for the DPRK's participation following the surprising meeting between top DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump in the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on Sunday (June 30).
The ruling party chief said South Korea completed all necessary preparations for the DPRK athletes and staff if the country accepts the invitation even on the eve of the opening.
Relations between South Korea and the DPRK improved last year with the DPRK's participation in the South Korea-hosted Winter Olympics in the country's eastern city of PyeongChang.