09/24/2010, 00.00
KOREA

No deal on family reunions

Joseph Yun Li-sun
Seoul and Pyongyang plan a new meeting on the issue, but the programme has not yet been re-started. South Korea announces new joint naval exercises with the United States.

Kaesong (AsiaNews) – Red Cross officials from the two Koreas met this morning for a second time (the first time was last week) to discuss holding another round of reunions between members of families separated by the Korean War (1950-1953). However, they have not yet agreed on a date or a place for the reunions. Meanwhile, South Korea announced more joint naval exercises with the United States in a show of force for North Korea’s benefit.

Family reunions entail bringing together relatives divided by the armistice line in a single location to meet for one or more days. Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung had launched the idea as part of his ‘sunshine’ policy of intra-Korean rapprochement.

After a hiatus of two years following the election of conservative Lee Myung-bak to the post of president of South Korea, reunions re-started in September 2009. However, the sinking of the ROKS Cheonan by North Korea, which killed 43 sailors, and joint US-South Korean naval exercises are putting at risk the entire programme.

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UN to condemn Cheonan sinking, not Pyongyang
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Stop to North-South family reunions
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