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Reunion participants may use air routes

Posted August. 02, 2000 19:20,   


North Korea has conveyed to the South its intention to use an air route to transport displaced North Koreans visiting their relatives for reunions in Seoul, it was learned Aug. 2. This makes it likely that both South and North Korea will exchange visits of their separated families by air, since Seoul has already conveyed its plan to send South Korean families by plane to Pyongyang.

Unification Ministry officials said that the North Korean side informed the South of the idea through recent contacts between liaison officers at the truce village of Panmunjom. If the plan is realized, air routes linking the two Koreas will open for the first time since President Kim Dae-Jung flew into Pyongyang for the historic inter-Korean summit in mid-June, the officials said.

For the present, the plan is not fixed, and the two sides were only expressing their intentions, said the officials. They added that a concrete proposal would be agreed upon in the inter-Korean Red Cross officials` contacts slated for early next week at Panmunjom. The two sides earlier agreed to use both ground and air routes for their family reunion program at the South-North Red Cross talks held June 30 in the North.

Meanwhile, the North, through contacts at Panmunjom, informed Seoul that it is still determining the whereabouts of 62 displaced families. Out of 200 relatives of South Korean families, Pyongyang has confirmed the whereabouts of 138.