News / Asia

North Korea Rejects Seoul's Proposal on Reunion Talks

FILE - South Koreans on a bus bid farewell to their North Korean relatives after temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea.
FILE - South Koreans on a bus bid farewell to their North Korean relatives after temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort in North Korea.
VOA News
North Korea has rejected South's Korea's proposal for talks on resuming reunions between families separated by the 1950s Korean War.

Seoul's Unification Ministry said the North delivered the message Thursday, saying a "proper atmosphere had not been created" to resume the talks.

A ministry spokesman, Kim Eui-do, said Seoul was disappointed in Pyongyang's decision.
 
"Our side considers it regrettable that North Korea has disagreed on our proposal for South and North Korean Red Cross negotiations on the fundamental solution to issues such as the regularization of separated families' reunions. As we have expressed a number of times, the issue of separated families is an assignment that must be resolved as a top priority in South-North Korean relations without connection to any other issue," said Kim.
 
The North has often tried to tie the issue of family reunions to the resumption of other inter-Korean projects, such as restarting South Korean tours to its Mount Kumgang resort.
 
The family reunions were temporarily resumed last month for the first time in three years. The reunions followed rare high-level talks that had raised the possibility of an upswing in fragile Korean relations. 

The North's rejection follows a series of short-range missile and rocket tests Pyongyang has carried out in response to U.S.-South Korean war drills.

The North on Wednesday described the launches as routine and defensive. It slammed the ongoing Key Resolve military exercise as provocative.

Washington and Seoul say their own drills are defensive, and Pyongyang's tests are in violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

South Korea's Defense Ministry also provided more details Thursday about one of the North Korean rockets that narrowly missed a Chinese passenger airplane with over 200 people on board.
 
A spokesman, Kim Min-seok said Pyongyang did not give any advanced warning about the Tuesday launch.
 
"North Korea also committed serious threatening acts that ignored the prior navigational warning that was issued as part of the international order prescribed to protect the safety of civilians. Regarding this, our military is keeping a close watch on the possibility that North Korea's repeated and continuous provocative military actions could lead to actual provocation. We are making full preparations to respond sternly and strongly should there be provocation," said Kim.

South Korea's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin on Wednesday warned he "could not exclude the possibility" North Korea could soon conduct a nuclear or long-range missile test.

The developments are being watched closely by thousands of aging Koreans who have not seen or spoke to their relatives in decades.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Tuesday proposed allowing the separated families to communicate via letters and video messaging, though this also seems unlikely given the North's rejection.

North and South Koreans are forbidden by their governments to correspond with one another. The two countries remain in a state of war following their 1950s conflict, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

You May Like

Ukraine President Appeals for More US Support

Speaking before Congress ahead of meeting with President Obama, Petro Poroshenko urges lawmakers to back Ukraine in its quest for freedom and democracy More

Photogallery Global Audience Watches as Scots Go to the Polls

People were almost equally divided over a vote for independence, watched closely by Britain's allies, investors and restive regions at home and abroad More

China to Invest $20B in India Amid Border Dispute

Border spat between armies of two countries in Himalayas underlines mutual tensions despite growing commercial ties highlighted by Xi Jinping's high-profile visit More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid