S Korean unification minister calls for regularizing family reunions

16:29, September 17, 2010      

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South Korea's Unification Ministry called on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Friday to regularize reunions of families rent asunder by the 1950-53 Korean War, as the two Koreas are engaged in talks on the subject on the same day.

"We decided on unconditional emergency flood aid for North Korea (DPRK)," Hyun In-taek said in a speech at a symposium in Seoul. The decision was made on a solely humanitarian basis without political calculations, he said.

"Now the North should also agree to (the South's suggestion of) regularization of the family reunions on humanitarian grounds," the minister added.

The speech coincides with the ongoing Red Cross talks between the two Koreas on reunions of separated families.

The DPRK reportedly proposed holding such events from Oct. 21- 27 at the Mount Kumgang resort in the southeastern DPRK. The reunions, if resumed, will mark the first such event in a year.

The meeting comes when the inter-Korean ties show signs of thawing after months of confrontation over the sinking of a South Korean warship blamed on Pyongyang, which has been rejected by the DPRK.

South Korea, through its Red Cross, recently agreed to offer rice and cement in flood aid to the DPRK while giving a rare approval for civilian aid.

The minister, however, stressed the importance of improving inter-Korean relations before the DPRK reaches out to the world.

"Without improving the inter-Korean relations, six-party talks can't make progress well," Hyun said in the same speech, referring to the stalled multilateral talks over ending the DPRK's nuclear program. Many observers say a fresh momentum for reviving the moribund talks has been found amid a flurry of recent diplomatic activities among six member nations.

"There's no way North Korea can bypass the inter-Korean ties," the minister added.

Source: Xinhua


(Editor:张茜)

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