S. Korea preparing to propose working-level talks with N.K. about video family reunions

19-Mar-2019 Intellasia | Yonhap | 6:00 AM Print This Post

South Korea is getting ready to propose working-level talks with North Korea to set up video reunions of families left separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, the unification ministry said Monday.

Efforts to arrange video reunions for separated families gained traction after the UN Security Council and the United States decided in recent weeks to waive sanctions for video conferencing equipment to be sent to the North.

“With regard to video reunions, discussions are under way with related agencies. As soon as the discussions are complete, we will begin working-level talks with North Korea,” said Lee Eugene, deputy spokesperson of the ministry.

“We are now preparing to purchase monitors and other equipment while checking the 13 video reunion venues across the nation that have been left unattended for more than 10 years. We will soon begin renovation and repair work,” she said.

This file photo taken Oct. 15, 2018, shows a Korean Red Cross employee examining a video reunion room at the organization's Seoul office. (Yonhap)

This file photo taken Oct. 15, 2018, shows a Korean Red Cross employee examining a video reunion room at the organization’s Seoul office. (Yonhap)

South Korea pushed for video calls between members of separated families in early February in time for the Lunar New Year’s holiday, but they did not materialise as Seoul said it needed more time to get relevant sanctions exemptions.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in September to make efforts to allow separated families to hold video reunions and exchange video messages.

The separated families issue is one of the most pressing humanitarian matters for the Koreas as more aging Koreans have passed away without a chance to meet their kin across the border.

South and North Korea held their latest face-to-face family reunions at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North’s east coast in August. It was the first such event in about three years.

The Koreas remain technically at war as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190318004200325?section=nk/nk

 


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