July 22, 2009 11:21
North Korea is soon expected to call for a reunion event for families separated for more than 50 years due to the Korean War. This is according to a report in the latest edition of progressive magazine Minjok 21. The report is written by Chung Chang-hyun, a senior editor who had access to a source who recently visited the Stalinist state.
Quoting the source, Chung said there is a high possibility of a proposal by the North for a resumption of family reunions in time for Chuseok, one of Korea's biggest traditional holidays, which falls on Oct. 3 this year.
It also added that the proposal is likely to take place through working-level talks initiated by North Korea's Red Cross to its South Korean counterpart and the location may be at Mt. Kumgang, situated in North Korean territory.
The Unification Ministry said that there have been no calls by the North on the matter as of yet but stated that the issues with separated families are considered a significant problem that must be resolved above anything else.
There have been 16 rounds of family reunions since the first summit between the leaders of the two Koreas in June 2000, but the arrangement for the event had been cut off since last year due to North Korea's protest against President Lee Myung-bak's hardline stance on its nuclear program.
Chung and experts say the proposal is likely to place South Korea's conservative government in a predicament, as many view North Korea's move as a means to take initiative on the talks or make difficult demands by offering a situation in which the South cannot help but unconditionally accept.
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