N.Korean Reporters Engage S.Koreans at Family Reunion

      October 22, 2015 11:53

      North Koreans carry gifts for their long-lost South Korean families before reunions at Mt. Kumgang on Wednesday. /Newsis

      North Korean reporters covering the reunions of families separated by the Korean War in an unusual move approached South Korean journalists and told them they were surprised by the patriotism of soldiers in the South last summer.

      It is rare for North Korean officials to speak to South Koreans at all unprompted, let alone so frankly.

      They were apparently referring to an incident when two South Korean soldiers were maimed by North Korean box mines in the demilitarized zone.

      One North Korean, who said he was monitoring the South Korean media, said, "I was very surprised to see South Korean reports about soldiers postponing their discharge from mandatory military service” as tensions mounted in the aftermath of the tragedy. "How could that be possible?"

      The North Koreans were also curious how much media coverage the reunions are receiving in the South, and asked about the future direction of inter-Korean relations.

      Several North Korean reporters came up to their South Korean counterparts on Monday and tried to strike up conversations, asking their names and who they worked for, though they were reluctant to identify themselves in turn.

      A Unification Ministry official pointed out that there are few genuine North Korean reporters, and most of them were probably from state security agency or other officials whose job is to keep an eye on the North Korean participants.

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