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Minister Park calls for opening of reunion centers in March next yr.

Minister Park calls for opening of reunion centers in March next yr.

Posted December. 13, 2000 19:21,   


The South Korean delegation to the fourth round of inter-Korean ministerial talks in Pyongyang proposed Wednesday the establishment next March of a permanent reunion point and the holding of reunions of divided families during the Lunar New Year holidays on Jan. 23-25.

In the day¡¯s first session of talks at the Koryo Hotel, the South Korean delegation also proposed exchanges of correspondence within the year between displaced families whose whereabouts have been confirmed and the systematization of the family-reunion program, Unification Minister Park Jae-Kyu, South Korea¡¯s chief delegate to the talks, made the proposals in his keynote speech and also presented to the North Korean side a proposal on a readjusted time table for agreed projects that were left undone.

South Korea called for the two sides to step up economic cooperation next year, complete the first-stage construction work on the Kaesong Industrial Complex by year-end and boost other mutual exchanges, including the staging of the Seoul-Pyongyang soccer tournament that was agreed upon during the third round of talks.

The two delegations also exchanged views on various pending problems related to the June 15 Inter-Korean Joint Declaration.

In connection with Pyongyang's critical reaction to a Defense Ministry White Paper branding it as the South¡¯s main enemy and a monthly magazine's interview story with (South) Korea National Red Cross president Chang Choong-Sik, the Seoul delegation stressed that military confidence-building was important and that the North's defamation of a specific person amounted to interference in domestic affairs.

Taking issue with the North's imposition of restrictions on some South Korean reporters' newsgathering activities during the second family-reunion event in Pyongyang, the Seoul delegation called on Pyongyang to take appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in the future.

Meanwhile, chief North Korean delegate Jon Gum-Jin expressed discontent over recent developments, arguing that things that run counter to the spirit of the joint declaration should not take place.

The two sides called off scheduled afternoon contacts between their chief delegates and working-level delegates but did inspect the Taekwondo Stadium and Pyongyang Artistic Performing Theater.

A Seoul official said that the North Korean side conveyed to the South of its wish for more time to study South Korea¡¯s proposals before responding.