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

Updated: 2014-01-29 06:28:09 (KST)
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South Korea's proposal for holding a fresh round of family reunions in mid-February went unanswered by the North on Tuesday.
There was much anticipation over North Korea's response, as it had asked the South to leave the inter-Korean hotline open for a little bit longer than usual.
But after two extra hours, Pyongyang told Seoul that the hotline may be closed for the day, with no mention of the South's proposal.
South Korea had offered Monday to hold reunions for families separated since the Korean War from February 17th to the 22nd.
If the North had given a response, the two Koreas would have met for working-level talks on Wednesday at the truce village of Panmunjom to sort out the details.
Seoul's unification ministry expressed regret over Pyongyang's failure to give a swift response, saying that the aging family members divided by the 38th parallel are eagerly waiting to see each other again.
The dates proposed by South Korea to hold the reunions may be holding the North back from giving an answer.
Seoul offered to hold the humanitarian event in the third week of February, just before it begins its annual joint military drills with Washington, which the North views as war games.
Experts say Pyongyang could be mulling a counterproposal for the dates of the reunion.
Millions of Koreans were separated from their loved ones when the country was divided more than six decades ago.
Around 72-thousand South Koreans are on a waiting list for a chance to meet their families one last time, but it's been three years now since the last reunions.
Seoul's unification ministry left open the possibility of hearing from North Korea on Wednesday saying the working-level talks on the reunions can still take place on Thursday or immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.


Reporter : ssung86@arirang.co.kr

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