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Reuniting South and North Koreans

Seoul’s vice foreign minister called for North Korea’s cooperation on Monday in efforts to allow reunions of families separated by the countries’ division following the 1950-53 Korean War.

“The North government also should assume the duties and responsibilities for solving this issue,” Vice Foreign Minister Kim Chun-sig said in a speech delivered in an separated families’ event held in Imjingak pavilion in the border village of Paju.

The call came as Pyongyang remains silent on Seoul’s proposals, given in February and August, that they hold a reunion event for families separated between the South and the North.

Referring to the North’s alleged inaction, the vice minister said, “This issue could be solved only if the North Korean authorities made a decision.”

The Seoul government shares the pain and the anxiousness felt by separated family members, Kim said, adding the ministry “is willing to proactively solve the issue any time and without conditions, if there is a way to do so.”

About 81,800 South Koreans are registered with the government as separated families as of this year.

The divided Koreas have held more than a dozen rounds of reunions since a landmark inter-Korean summit in 2000, bringing together more than 21,700 family members who had not seen each other since the war.

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