Seoul to push for family reunion talks with North as soon as possible

By Yonhap
  • Published : Apr 29, 2018 - 17:40
  • Updated : Apr 29, 2018 - 17:40

South Korea will push for inter-Korean Red Cross talks as soon as possible to arrange a reunion of families separated since the 1950-1953 Korean War, Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said Sunday.

The leaders of the two countries agreed to hold the reunion event around August 15 during their landmark summit Friday.

"It takes time to prepare for Red Cross meetings as well as reunions of separated families, so they are at the top of our priority list," Cho told reporters on his way to his office. The preparations, which include selecting families, normally take two to three months.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (center) talks with South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (right) as he comes out of talks with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in at the Peace House of the truce village of Panmunjom on Friday. Moon`s chief of staff, Im Jong-seok, is on the left. (Yonhap)

Asked if the Red Cross meeting and high-ranking officials' meeting will take place next month, he said, "Yes. We are considering a date at the earliest possible convenience."

On the suggestion by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un to unify the time zones of Seoul and Pyongyang, the minister said he believes the move demonstrates Kim's willingness to improve inter-Korean relations and to bring it into action.

During his meeting with President Moon Jae-in last Friday, Kim offered to move the country's clocks 30 minutes forward to unify time zones with the South, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Sunday. Seoul's standard time is 30 minutes ahead of Pyongyang.

Regarding follow-up measures for the summit, the minister said, "The Panmunjom Declaration contains many issues. Some of them need immediate execution, while others should be handled after a summit between the United States and North Korea and through close consultation with other interested parties."

Moon and Kim adopted the Panmunjom Declaration at the end of their summit at the border truce village of Panmunjom. They reaffirmed their shared goal of complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. They also agreed to work toward a formal end of the Korean War within this year, to halt all hostile acts and to push for a series of inter-Korean cooperation projects.

Cho said the follow-up measures will be discussed in detail by the post-summit government committee, which will be up and running this week. (Yonhap)