S.Korea in Fresh Proposal for Family Reunions

The government sent a message to North Korea on Monday proposing to hold reunions of families separated by the Korean War in mid-February, before joint South Korea-U.S. exercises start.

The aim is to prevent North Korea from using the military drill as an excuse to call off the reunions again.

A high-ranking government official on Sunday, "We've come to the conclusion that the sooner we hold the family reunions the better. Since it takes two or three weeks to prepare the event, we plan to propose a meeting before the lunar New Year’s holidays begin" on Jan. 30.

Seoul hopes to send a team of officials to prepare and check the facilities at the Mt. Kumgang resort in North Korea during the holidays.

North Korea has demanded that the South halt the joint military exercises. But on Jan. 24, Pyongyang sent a message through the Red Cross proposing unconditional resumption of the reunions and saying it is "determined to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and unity."

englishnews@chosun.com / Jan. 27, 2014 11:50 KST