North and South Korea discuss family reunions

Friday, September 17, 2010

SEOUL - The Red Cross organisations of North and South Korea met Friday to discuss reunions between family members separated by the country’s split 60 years ago, a news report said.

The two Koreas have allowed temporary reunions of selected families divided after the 1950-53 Korean War on a handful of occasions since a 2000 summit.

The two countries’ officials were to discuss holding family reunions to coincide with the Chuseok autumn harvest holiday Tuesday, the South Korean Yonhap News agency said.

Previous such events were held in October 2007 and September 2009. Last year, around 200 families were selected from around 10,000 people who applied, and allowed to meet for a few days.

The move comes after several months of heightened tensions following the fatal sinking of a corvette of the South Korean navy in March, which Seoul blames on the North’s military.

Recent weeks have seen a slight thaw, however, with the release of a detained South Korean fishing crew by Pyongyang, and Seoul’s offer of rice and building materials in aid to the flood-stricken North.

North Korea proposed Thursday to hold working-level military talks with the South to discuss the disputed maritime border, which has not been formalised since the Korean War ended without a peace treaty.

South Korean officials said they were considering the offer cautiously, as Pyongyang has refused to accept responsibility for the sinking of the Cheonan corvette, in which 46 sailors died.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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