North Korea agrees to talks on family reunions
SEOUL (AFP) - North Korea agreed on Monday to hold talks with South Korea on organising a rare reunion event for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.
After days of silence following an initial proposal from Seoul last week, Pyongyang said it would be willing to participate in a meeting on Wednesday or Thursday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
"We welcome that the North has finally come forward to discuss the reunion," Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Eui-Do told reporters. "Given the urgency of the matter, we will make preparations to hold the reunion as soon as possible," he said, adding the ministry would notify Pyongyang which day it preferred for the Panmunjom meeting.
Millions of Korean families were left separated by the conflict that sealed the peninsula's division. Most family members have since died without ever meeting or talking to their relatives. Cross-border visits, along with postal and phone communications, are banned for ordinary citizens.