May 25 (UPI) -- South Korea's former presidential secretary and three other politicians of the ruling Democratic Party are to lead the Inter-Korea Cooperation Foundation, a group founded in September.
Im Jong-seok, a former aide to President Moon Jae-in, has requested local lawmakers Hong Ihk-pyo, Song Gap-seok and Yoon Young-chan to join him as directors, Maeil Business reported Monday.
According to the report, the foundation is expected to hold its first board meeting on June 1.
Im founded his NGO with the purpose of "contributing to the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula based on the spirit of the June 15 Joint Declaration."
A source at the Democratic Party said the group will seek to promote economic and cultural exchange and cooperation, or in areas beyond the scope of "activism."
In an interview with The Quarterly Changbi published last week, Im said he wanted to create a 1.5 track for inter-Korea talks -- a mix of former and current officials -- where he would be able to "meet frequently" with Kim Yong Chol, a former North Korean military official who is currently deputy chair of the Korean Workers' Party.
Kim Yong Chol is Kim Jong Un's aide who visited the White House in 2018. Some analysts have suggested Kim Yong Chol is linked to the 2010 torpedo attack on the South Korean warship Cheonan.
Im was a leading student activist in the 1980s who served a prison sentence for helping another South Korean student, Lim Su-kyung, visit North Korea without authorization in 1989, when Seoul was enforcing strict anti-communist laws.
Im has said Moon will push ahead with new North Korea-related initiatives if there is no progress in U.S.-North Korea relations this year.