South Korea proposes meeting with North over family reunions

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SEOUL, South Korea (TBEN) — South Korea on Thursday proposed a meeting with North Korea to resume the reunification of families separated by war, despite longstanding rivalries over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

It is unclear whether North Korea would accept the offer, as it has already rejected the new South Korean government’s offer to provide massive aid in exchange for denuclearization.

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“The south and the north have to face the painful sides of reality. We must resolve the matter before the term ‘divorced families’ disappears,” Unification Minister Kwon Youngse said in a televised briefing. “We must immediately use all possible means to come up with quick and fundamental measures.”

Kwon said South Korea hopes the responsible officials of the two Koreas will meet in person as soon as possible for a frank discussion.

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Since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, the two Koreas have banned millions of people suddenly separated from visiting each other’s territory across the world’s most heavily fortified border. Decades later, most don’t know if their loved ones are still alive.

The Koreas have occasionally allowed separated families to meet temporarily, but such a reunion has not happened since 2018.

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Family reunions are a very emotional issue as most of the divorced family members are now in their 80’s and above and desire to reunite with their long-lost relatives before they die.