South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak has asked North Korea to consider sending home prisoners of war and civilians, in return for aid it gets from Seoul.
In an interview published Monday, Mr. Lee told the Maeil Business Newspaper that Seoul should continue sending aid to North Korea, and not link it to ongoing negotiations over the North's nuclear weapons program.
However, Mr. Lee said North Korea, in return for that aid, should consider repatriating prisoners of war and South Korean citizens who were seized after the Korean War.
The South Korean government says nearly 500 people were seized in the decades after the war, which ended in an cease-fire. It also believes more than 500 prisoners of war are still alive in the North.
North Korea says none are being held against their will.
South Korea is a key aid donor to the North, which relies on handouts to feed its 23 million people.
Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.