Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

The Korean Red Cross proposes reunion of separated families to North Korea

The Korean Red Cross proposes reunion of separated families to North Korea

Recently elected South Korean President Moon Jae-in has indicated he is an advocate of re-establishing closer ties with the north, opting for political dialogue rather than military affronts and the imposing of sanctions.

This photo, taken on July 6, 2017, shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in delivering a speech in Berlin over his vision for bringing peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Talks could be held in the village of Panmunjom, just on the North Korean side of the border, as soon as Friday, the ministry said, with the goal of ending "all acts of hostility" along the Military Demarcation Line that separates the two countries.

Cho urged the restoration of military and government hotlines across the border, which had been cut by the DPRK a year ago in response to South Korea's imposing economic sanctions after a nuclear test by Pyongyang.

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If the North accepts, it will be the first time since 2015 to hold such talks.

Separately, South Korean authorities also offered to restart Red Cross talks on August 1, to discuss options to resume family reunions on the Chuseok holiday in early October. Official talks between the sides have not been held since December 2015. The latest test took place on July 4, when Pyongyang said it had successfully launched its first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the Hwasong-14.

The North recently voiced suspicion over Moon's North Korea policy, and some conservatives in South Korea worry that his overture might weaken worldwide pressure on North Korea. About 28,500 American troops are stationed in South Korea.

The missile launch has stoked worldwide security fears. During that period, two liberal South Korean presidents went to Pyongyang and held landmark summit talks with then-leader Kim Jong Il, the father of current North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un. Since no truce was agreed, the two sides remain technically at war.

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North Korea says the South abducted the 12 waitresses and the restaurant manager and has demanded their return, but the South has said the group chose to defect of its own free will. Cho said this matter is not included on the talks agenda.

The North and the South have been divided since Korea's liberation from the Japanese at the end of World War II.

In response to the ICBM test, the United States has circulated a resolution with proposed new sanctions to the other permanent veto-wielding Security Council members - China, Russia, Britain and France - U.N. diplomats said last week.

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