News / Asia

Park Proposes Resumption of Inter-Korean Family Reunions

South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the liberation from the Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule, in Seoul, August 15, 2013.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the 68th anniversary of the liberation from the Japan's 1910-45 colonial rule, in Seoul, August 15, 2013.
VOA News
South Korean President Park Geun-hye has proposed the resumption of meetings between families separated by the 1950s Korean war, a day after the two Koreas agreed to restart a stalled joint factory project.

During a televised speech Thursday to mark the anniversary of Korea's independence from Japan, President Park suggested the reunions be held around next month's annual Chuseok harvest holiday. "Around this Chuseok, I ask North Korea to open its heart to allow a reunion of separated families,"she announced.

North Korea proposed talks last month on resuming the family reunions, but later pulled back the offer. It has not responded to South Korea's latest proposal.

The reunions have not been held in three years. They were a major feature of Seoul's "Sunshine Policy" of warmer relations with the North, which ended with the election of Park's predecessor, Lee Myung-bak. Around 20,000 Koreans were able to meet with separated family members during the reunions.

President Park also proposed the construction of a peace park in the heavily militarized buffer zone separating the two countries, which she called the "legacy of our division and confrontation."

Her speech comes a day after the two Koreas reached a landmark deal to re-open the symbolically important Kaesong manufacturing complex, which was closed earlier this year during heightened military tensions.

Park welcomed the agreement, saying she hoped it would "correct wrong practices" of past Korean relations and help bring on "new relations of coexistence."

Many analysts say the Kaesong deal represents a diplomatic success for Park. A joint statement released Wednesday suggested Pyongyang gave in to Seoul's demand for a pledge to prevent any future shutdowns of the Kaesong complex.

Both sides also agreed to try to attract foreign companies to the complex.

A joint committee will be formed to refurbish the facilities and consider compensation for South Korean firms affected by the shutdown. The two sides did not give an official date for resuming operations.

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says he is encouraged by the agreement and hopes operations will be normalized as quickly as possible and that the complex faces no further interruptions.

In April, North Korea withdrew its 53,000 workers from Kaesong. It was angered by U.S.-South Korean military exercises and international sanctions following its February nuclear test. South Korean businesses pulled out their managers and workers in early May.

The industrial park, which manufactured goods with cheap North Korean labor, provided a key source of foreign income to the leadership of the impoverished North. It is located just north of the inter-Korean border

You May Like

In China, Mixed Signals on Ebola Controls

How authorities are monitoring at-risk individuals remains unclear, including whether there are quarantines for Chinese health workers returning from West Africa More

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Electionsi
X
October 31, 2014 4:10 AM
Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Women Voters Anxious Ahead of US Elections

Public opinion polls show American voters are deeply dissatisfied with their government and anxious about threats from abroad. This is especially true for a key voting group both Republicans and Democrats are trying hard to win over: women. Analysts say if women are focused on national security, it could be bad news for Democrats, with majority control of the Senate at stake. VOA’s Cindy Saine looks at the crucial role women voters will play in deciding the elections.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid