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North Korea remains mum on South Korea's family reunion proposal

Updated: 2014-01-28 16:29:20 (KST)
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Amid seemingly thawing relations between the two Koreas, South Korea on Monday proposed holding a fresh round of reunions for families separated since the Korean War in the third week of February.
Seoul also suggested holding working-level talks Wednesday, tomorrow that is, to fine-tune the details of the event.
Do we have a response from the North, yet?
For that, let's go live to our correspondent Hwang Sung-hee at the unification ministry.

Conn-young, still no answer from North Korea but we are expecting a response sometime today.
North Korea earlier asked to leave the inter-Korean hotline open for a little bit longer than its usual closing time of 4 p.m.
If we do get an answer, the two Koreas will most likely meet for working-level talks tomorrow at the North Korean side of the truce village of Panmunjom to sort out the details, as proposed by Seoul yesterday.
There is also the possibility of Pyongyang making a counterproposal for the dates of the reunion.
The dates that Seoul proposed are from February 17th to the 22nd, which is right before it begins its annual joint military drills with Washington.
Experts say North Korea may ask to schedule the reunions during the military exercise to pressure the South to cancel the drills or scale them back.
Nonetheless, the unification ministry said if the North proposes a different date, it is willing to put it under consideration if it is for justifiable reasons.

And we hear North Korea actually called on the South to stop a West Sea naval exercise scheduled for this afternoon?

That's right.
Seoul's defense ministry said today that Pyongyang, through a military hotline on the western sea border, demanded that Seoul stop the naval exercise threatening severe consequences if it goes ahead as planned.
The ministry said it sent a reply shortly thereafter, saying it's a regular exercise and adding its hope that the exercise will not affect possible plans for resuming family reunions.
The ministry says it notified the North of the exercise on Sunday.
This is in line with the South Korean government's stance that humanitarian issues, such as the resumption of family reunions, will be dealt with separately from military drills.

That was our Hwang Sung-hee, reporting on Seoul's proposal to hold family reunions next month.


Reporter : ssung86@arirang.co.kr

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