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N. Korea proposes family reunions after Lunar New Year holiday

Updated: 2014-01-24 20:51:35 (KST)
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We begin with a new development in inter-Korean relations right as most of the nation was wrapping up the work week.
Hours ago North Korea offered to hold reunions for families separated during the Korean War And in immediate response South Korea welcomed the proposal.
For more on the latest sign of improving inter-Korean ties, we connect live to our Yoo Li-an standing by at the news center.
Li-an what can you tell us?

Ji-hae, Sean. North Korea at around six-thirty PM Korea time made the family reunion proposal in a telephone message sent to South Korea's Red Cross via the inter-Korean Red Cross channel at Panmunjom.
This,.. according to the Korean Central News Agency.
The location of the reunions would be the Mount Geumgang-san resort as previously agreed upon by the two Koreas.
As for the timing of the reunions,.. the North said they should take place at the most convenient time for South Korea, as soon as the weather eases up after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Now soon after Pyongyang made the proposal, the South Korean government issued a statement welcoming the move.
The unification ministry said it will soon contact the North about the details of putting together working level talks for the reunions.
As you guys may remember, North Korea unilaterally canceled family reunions scheduled for last September at the last minute, citing South Korean provocations.

Li-an, North Korea's proposal makes it seem like the regime might actually be serious about easing tensions on the peninsula

You're right,.. the action is in line with a letter Pyongyang sent to Seoul earlier today, where it claimed that its proposal to stop cross-border slandering made last week IS sincere.
In the letter, it had stressed that Pyongyang is determined to create an atmosphere of reconciliation and realize the reunions of separated families, among many others.
Like you said, Ji-hae, now that the proposal has officially been made through Panmunjom, we can now be assured that they were serious about at least one thing, for now.
Pyongyang has been carrying out a peace offensive ever since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un called for improved relations on the Korean peninsula during his New Year's Day speech.
Last week, it proposed ending all cross-border slandering, while asking Seoul to call off its upcoming annual joint military drill with Washington.
South Korea has been disregarding North Korea's peace offensive, suspecting it as a deceptive prelude to a new round of military provocations.
And today, as recently as hours before North Korea made the proposal to hold family reunions, the South Korean government called on Pyongyang to show actions instead of just using words.
Well, Pyongyang HAS acted,. and we can now hope that the much-delayed and much-anticipated family reunions, which would be the first in three years, finally take place sometime next month.

All right, that was our Yoo Li-an reporting on Pyongyang's family reunion proposal live from the news centerl.


Reporter : Lian.yoo@arirang.co.kr

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