SEOUL, Nov. 21 -- A group of lay members of the largest Buddhist order in the country is scheduled to visit the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) this week in the latest religious exchanges between the two neighbors, the Buddhists said Monday.
Seven members of the Lay Buddhist Association for Jogye Order will travel to the DPRK border town of Kaesong Tuesday for a meeting with their counterparts over joint efforts to retrieve cultural assets stolen during Japan's 1910-45 occupation of Korea, according to the group.
The S. Korean government approved the visit last week, considering it is part of joint efforts by the two countries to recover cultural relics taken away during the Japanese colonial occupation, according to the country's unification ministry.
The Buddhists' visit comes amid signs of Seoul's efforts to mend strained ties with Pyongyang.
Seoul had banned nearly all exchanges with its northern neighbor following two border incidents last year that killed 50 South Koreans, but has recently signaled flexibility in dealing with the DPRK.
A group of South Korean Buddhists visited the DPRK in September, the first such visit since cross-border exchanges were put on hold.