South Korea proposes new round of family reunions with North Korea
South Korea on Monday proposed a second high-level meeting this year with North Korea to discuss arranging another reunion for the separated elderly in the Koreas.
South Korea suggested holding the talks on Aug. 19 at the same village on the border where both countries signed the armistice to put a hold on the Korean War six decades ago.
According to the New York Times, South Korea hopes to arrange the new round of reunions in time for the South Korean Thanksgiving holiday around the beginning of September. The last tearful reunion held in February at the South-North Korean border was the first in three years.
Seoul also pledged $13.3 million in humanitarian donations to North Korea on Monday, the Times reported. The money will go to the World Food Program and the World Health Organization to provide nutrients and health services to impoverished mothers and infant care in North Korea. There are currently about 2.4 million people in need of regular food assistance in North Korea, with 28 percent of children under the age of five suffering chronic malnutrition, according to the United Nations.
Despite the increased interaction between the two Koreas this year, there are still high tensions and hostility fueled by North’s missile tests, the dispute over the Yellow Sea maritime boundary and the North’s demand for Seoul to halt the regular military drills with the U.S. military.
North Korea has not yet responded to the proposal.