S. Korea presses North to act on family reunions

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SEOUL: South Korea on Thursday called on North Korea to honor its promise to hold a reunion of families from the two countries who have separated for decades, after days of silence by Pyongyang.

The North unexpectedly announced on Friday last week that it was willing to hold a reunion and the South on Monday suggested holding working-level talks to arrange details.

But the North has made no response since then and the South’s unification ministry warned it on Thursday against repeating empty promises of reunions.

“[The North] should not repeat yet again, breaking the hearts of separated families who have been longing for the reunion,” said ministry spokes–woman Park Soo-Jin.


“The separated families will suffer less if they [North Koreans] don’t make promises that they can’t keep,” she said, urging Pyongyang to prove its sincerity with action.

In making its announcement last week, the North said the dates could be chosen by the South, which promptly suggested February 17 to 21 at the North’s Mount Kumgang resort.

If it goes ahead, the event will be the first since 2010.

A reunion was planned in September but Pyongyang can-celled at the last minute. There are concerns it will do the same this time around, due to planned joint South Korean-US military drills likely to begin in February.

The exercises are held every year but are routinely con–demned by the North as a rehearsal for invasion.

AFP

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