South Korean Unification Minister proposes talks with Pyongyang on families separated during the war

South Korean Unification Minister Kwon Young Se has proposed Thursday to hold talks with North Korea to discuss the issue of families separated by the Korean War between 1950 1953, stressing the urgency of resolving it.

Kwon has issued a statement suggesting an inter-Korean dialogue on the eve of the Chuseok autumn harvest holiday, which is one of the biggest annual celebrations for South and North Koreans, Yonhap Agency has reported.

The minister noted that several of the separated family members on the other side of the heavily fortified border are octogenarians or nonagenarians, which is why he urged to resolve the problem before they die.

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To that end, it has proposed outlining “swift and fundamental measures, using all available methods,” according to the agency.

The Unification Ministry head has expressed that meeting events held intermittently with a small number of families are not enough, stressing that his government is ready to hold dialogues with the North “at any time and place, regardless of the format.”

Since the first inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 21 rounds of face-to-face family reunion events, the latest of which was held in August 2018.

The two Koreas have a long history of holding family reunions on the occasion of the Chuseok holiday, which celebrates the autumn harvest. This year, Chuseok falls on Saturday and is part of a four-day holiday, which begins on Friday.

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