Seoul’s Red Cross chief vows close cooperation with N.K. on reunions of separated families
SEOUL, The head of South Korea's Red Cross said Tuesday he is ready to closely cooperate with his North Korean counterpart on humanitarian issues, including the reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.
The two Koreas are expected to hold a Red Cross meeting to prepare for family reunions as a follow-up to the agreement their leaders reached during their April 27 summit. They agreed to hold such an event around August 15.
"We will closely cooperate with the North's Red Cross during the soon-to-be-held meeting on humanitarian issues facing the two Koreas, such as the reunion of separated families," Park Kyung-seo, president at the Korean Red Cross, said at a meeting in Seoul to mark the 71st anniversary of World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.
"By putting our heads together, (we) will do our best to find a fundamental resolution to the issue related to the separated families, something that our whole 80 million people have yearned for, and also seek inter-Korean cooperation on humanitarian issues," he added.
The North earlier demanded the return of 12 female North Koreans who had worked at a restaurant in China and defected to the South in 2016 as a condition for resuming the suspended reunions of separated families.
Seoul has called for such events as fast as possible amid worries that many of those seeking to meet their loved ones on the opposite side of the border are aging.
About 55 percent of an estimated 131,530 South Koreans on the waiting list for reunions have died as of the end of March, according to Seoul's unification ministry. The last reunion event was held in October 2015.
Park said that, through the historic inter-Korean summit, a possibility was found to go beyond the vicious cycle caused by the decades-long division and open a new era of peaceful coexistence free of nuclear weapons, war and violence.
Source: Yonhap News Agency