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North to Halt Inter-Korean Reunions

Posted July. 20, 2006 03:05,   


North Korea sent an arbitrary notice on Wednesday that it will halt inter-Korean family reunion projects, an apparent retaliation attempt against the South for suspending humanitarian aid.

“There will be no more inter-Korean family reunions between North and South Korea. The construction of the reunion center at Mt. Geumgang and special video reunions planned for August 15 will not take place,” said North Korean Red Cross Society Chairman Jang Jae On in a letter to South Korean Red Cross President Han Wan-sang.

“South Korea rejected providing even humanitarian aid such as rice and fertilizer arbitrarily in the 19th inter-Korean ministerial level meeting,” added the North.

“Though not unexpected, it is very unfortunate. We will do our best to restart the reunion of separated families,” said the Ministry of Unification.

“The announcement could be interpreted as North Korea’s counter action on the UN Security Council’s adoption of a resolution that would impose sanctions on North Korea by enhancing tension on the Korean peninsula. We will persuade the North through unofficial channels,” said a South Korean official.

However, tension between the two Koreas is not likely to subside in the near future as the North has rejected humanitarian exchanges, blaming the South.

“We wanted the humanitarian cooperative projects to continue, in line with the principle stated in the June 15 Joint Statement, but Seoul imposed obstacles to the future of the projects,” said the North.

“This is analogous to selling humanitarian projects to the U.S. and Japan who are threatening to impose sanctions and pursuing hostile policies against us,” criticized the North.

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