North Korea's response to family reunion offer to determine direction of inter-Korean relationsUpdated: 2014-01-07 14:31:57 (KST)
Will North Korea accept South Korea's proposal for a fresh round of talks this week on resuming family reunions for those separated since the Korean War?
In her New Year's speech Monday, President Park Geun-hye called the humanitarian event a potential first step in opening up a new era of inter-Korean relations.
"I hope that separated families, who have grown old waiting for the past 60 years, can meet one another, healing the wounds in their hearts. I hope that North Korea will take a meaningful first step this year through the family reunions, and set up a new framework for inter-Korean dialogue."
The resumption of family reunions could serve as the touchstone of inter-Korean relations this year just like the normalization of Gaeseong Industrial Complex did last year.
If Pyongyang agrees to hold the event, it could mark a turning point in relations and signify friendlier ties going forward.
"It will be the first revelation of the capacity of the Kim Jong un regime in the new year 2014 to indicate how the regime is determined to manage inter-Korean relations."
As the South awaits the North's response, it remains hopeful reflecting on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year's speech in which he called for creating an atmosphere for improved ties.
Analysts say Seoul's latest offer will serve as a barometer of North Korea's sincerity in mending ties with the South.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.
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