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Reunion points eyed in Panmunjeom, Mt. Geumgang

Posted September. 19, 2000 21:01,   


The administration and the Korea National Red Cross plan to propose the establishment and operation of two permanent family-reunion venues in the truce village of Panmunjeom and Mt. Geumgang, when the second inter-Korean red cross talks are held on Sept. 20. They also plan to promote the setup of a permanent meeting place somewhere in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), when the Gyeongui (Seoul-Sinuiju) Railway is restored.

After a meeting with Park Ki-Ryun, secretary general of the KNRC, at its secretariat on Tuesday, Unification Minister Park Jae-Kyu said that those separated families who want to meet for a long time with their North Korean kin will be able to do so at the Mt. Kumgang Hotel. Nonetheless, the minister said that it is necessary to install a permanent reunion place in the middle part of the DMZ, where the projected cross-border railway will run.

In order to diversify the family meetings, Minister Park suggested that Panmunjeom will be a better place for those separated families to met each others for a whole day and afterward exchange mail, while the Mt. Kumgang Hotel should be used for the people who will stay for three or four days to meet their North Korean families.

Regarding the topics to be raised at the upcoming red cross talks, Park said that at its second round of talks, it would be enough for the two sides to reach accords on the method of exchanging correspondence and problems involving the second and third family-reunion programs due within the year. He also said that the issues of installing permanent reunion places and others could be discussed at the next inter-Koran red cross talks.

Meanwhile, South Korean red cross delegates left for Mt. Geumgang to attend the meeting with their North Korean counterparts, aboard the tourist cruiser Bongrae-ho. Their talks will be held at the hotel for three days from Wednesday.

Kim Young-Sik spear@donga.com