Seoul to propose talks to Pyongyang this week for more family reunions

By 정주원
  • Published : Mar 2, 2014 - 15:29
  • Updated : Mar 2, 2014 - 15:29

South Korea plans to propose Red Cross talks with North Korea this week in a bid to arrange cross-border family reunions on a regular basis, government sources said Sunday.

The two Koreas held the first rounds of family reunions last month in more than three years, allowing family members to meet after being separated during the 1950-53 Korean War.

Seoul had planned to propose to the North that their Red Crosses arrange regular family reunions and resolve other humanitarian issues.

In her address Saturday marking Korea's 1919 nationwide independence movement against Japan's colonial rule, President Park Geun--hye reiterated the proposal to the North.

The proposal could be made to the North as soon as this week, the sources said, adding that it may come after the joint South Korea-U.S. Key Resolve military exercises end on March 6.

"One of the options is making the proposal after the Key Resolve drills," one of the sources said. During the annual joint military drills between Seoul and Washington, Pyongyang often launches military provocations, calling the drills a rehearsal for war against North Korea.

South Korea has repeatedly urged frequent family reunions with North Korea, appealing that time is running out for tens of thousands of elderly people who wish to see their long-lost relatives before they die. The North, however, has yet to agree to regularizing the reunions, often accusing Seoul of hampering the mood for such reunions by spiking up tension. (Yonhap)