Seoul to allow women activists to march from North to South Korea

SEOUL (Reuters) - South Korea will allow an international women's group to enter the country on a planned march from North Korea by crossing the heavily-fortified demilitarised zone (DMZ), South Korean government officials told Reuters on Friday.

The WomenCrossDMZ group, headed by activist and feminist Gloria Steinem, says it plans to embark on the May 24 march from the North Korean capital Pyongyang to the DMZ separating the two Koreas to "call for an end to the Korean War".

"There are some procedural steps left but we are headed in the direction of giving a green light," a government official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after the 1950-53 Korea War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. Despite its name, the DMZ is one of the most heavily militarised and fortified borders in the world.

There are just three official inter-Korean border checkpoints where it is possible to traverse between the two Koreas, although such crossings are rare.

The official said Seoul had not yet publicly announced its approval because of ongoing discussions with United Nations Command (UNC) - the body in charge of the Panmunjom border crossing where North and South Korean soldiers stand across from each other in a daily face-off.

The group will be encouraged to cross at the inter-Korean Kaesong Industrial Zone border post, another official said.

(Reporting by Ju-min Park and Seung Yun Oh; Writing by James Pearson; Editing by Michael Perry)