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

Jihadist Assassin says Goal of Tunisia Murders Was Chaos

Abu Muqatil at-Tunusi’s remarks in a propaganda interview also cast light on attack on Bardo Museum More

Russia Denies License to Tatar-Language TV Station in Crimea

OSCE official says denial shows 'politically selective censorship of free and independent voices in Crimea is continuing' More

Kenyan Startups Tackle Expensive Remittances Through Bitcoin

Some think services could give Western Union a run for its money, though others say it’s still got a long way to go More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leadersi
X
Aru Pande
April 01, 2015 9:09 PM
The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video For Obama, It's More Business Than Friendships With World Leaders

The rift between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has put a spotlight on the importance of the American leader’s personal relationships with other world leaders and what role such friendships play in foreign policy. VOA's Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Buhari: Nigeria Has ‘Embraced Democracy’

Nigeria woke up to a new president-elect Wednesday, Muhammadu Buhari. But people say democracy is the real winner as the country embarks on its first peaceful handover of power since the end of military rule in 1999. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Abuja.
Video

Video Tiny Camera Sees Inside Blood Vessels

Ahead of any surgical procedure, doctors try to learn as much as possible about the state of the organs they plan to operate on. A new camera developed in the Netherlands can now make that easier - giving surgeons an incredibly detailed look inside blood vessels, all the way to the patient’s heart. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Latin American Groups Seek Fans at Texas Music Festival

Latin American music groups played all over Austin, Texas, during the recent South by Southwest festival, and some made fans out of locals as well as people from around the world who had come to hear music. Such exposure can boost such groups' image back home. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Stockton Community, Police, Work to Improve Relations

Relations are tense between minority communities and police departments around the United States following police shootings that have generated widely-publicized protests. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Stockton, California, where police and community groups are working toward solutions, with backing from Washington.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More