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South Korea proposes reunion of separated families to the North Updated: 2017-07-18 04:13:28 KST

The Korean Red Cross proposed to start meetings for the reunion of separated families Monday morning, saying that it's a humanitarian issue that comes before politics.

"The Korean Red Cross proposes holding a meeting at Panmunjom's Peace House on August 1st to address humanitarian issues including the reunion of separated families in light of the Chuseok holiday."

The organization said three members from the South, including Secretary General of the Korean Red Cross Kim Gunn-joong will attend the meeting.
The Korean Red Cross asked its counterpart from the North to reply through the Panmunjom Red Cross office.

Following the Korean Red Cross's announcement, the Ministry of Unification said holding reunions of separated families and inter-Korean military talks are critical to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and boost inter-Korean cooperation.

It added that with most of the 60,000 South Koreans still waiting for a chance to meet their family members over age 80, and more than 3,000 of them passing away every year, it is urgent to hold reunion meetings.

"Since 1985, 20 rounds of reunions have been held. The reunions are widely seen as a barometer of inter-Korean relations. 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."

If the North accepts, it will be the first time since 2015 to hold such talks.
But it remains to be seen whether the North will accept the proposal as it's still demanding South Korea repatriate twelve female North Koreans who defected to the South last year.
Kim Hyesung, Arirang News.
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