South Korea proposes reunion of separated families to the North

Frederick Owens
July 17, 2017

The defense ministry and the Red Cross asked Pyongyang to reply to the suggestion through the military hotline in the western region and the liaison office at Panmunjom, a truce village inside the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). A senior government official reported on July 16 that the administration was "fine-tuning plans to propose talks to North Korea within the week".

The South Korean government separately proposed reopening Red Cross talks to discuss ways to resume family reunions.

The dialogue was aimed at stopping all hostile acts that escalate military tensions near the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas, the vice minister said.

After the North announced the successful launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile on July 4, Harris said it is getting "closer to being able to deliver a nuclear-equipped missile" to the US mainland.

South Korea has proposed holding military talks with its northern neighbor, the first such talks since 2015.

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The government is likely North Korea's largest user of fuel products, but most petrol and diesel bought by ordinary citizens comes from private dealers and smugglers, experts say.

Your correspondent believes the joint missile launches by the US and South Korea were provocative, and that negotiations are the best way of finding a solution in the Korean peninsula.

Who is Moon Jae-in, South Korea's new president? "The proposal to restart reunions of separated families is a follow up to President Moon Jae-in's Berlin Declaration, which attempts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and open up a channel of dialogue with Pyongyang". Suh said he expected a "positive response" to the idea, without elaborating on what he meant by hostility.

As another follow-up measure to Moon's initiative, the South Korean Red Cross proposed to its DPRK counterpart holding humanitarian talks on August 1 at the Peace House, a building in the South Korean side of Panmunjom. Ms. Ahn said there were no indications that Ms. Wright or any of the other activists would be barred from South Korea.

The agenda for the military meeting could include moves to suspend propaganda campaigns operated on both sides of the border for years, Cheong added. But the isolated country, in the past, has repeatedly refused to engage in talks with Seoul unless the South hands over 12 waitresses who defected to Seoul a year ago. Many died without getting a chance to see or hear from their families on the other side of the heavily-fortified border, across which all civilian communication is banned. If such activities pick up again in October as the South Korea's Red Cross hopes, they would be the first to take place in over two years. It recent test of an ICBM put it one step closer to its goal of developing nuclear-armed missiles capable of reaching anywhere in the United States.

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