North-South Red Cross Talks Held
Korean Central News Agency of DPRK via Korea News Service (KNS)
Pyongyang, October 27 (KCNA) -- North-south Red Cross talks were held in Kaesong on Oct. 26 and 27.
Present there were the DPRK side delegation led by Choe Song Ik, vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Red Cross Society of the DPRK, and the south side delegation with Kim Ryong Hyon, secretary general of the Red Cross of south Korea as its chief delegate.
The head of the DPRK side delegation spoke first at the talks.
Underlining the need for the Red Cross organizations of the north and the south to fully solve the pending humanitarian issues in line with the desire and wishes of the fellow countrymen and contribute to improving the north-south relations, he continued:
What is most important is for the north and the south to remain true to the noble idea and mission of Red Cross humanitarianism.
In the past the north and the south made not a few efforts to relieve the other side of pain, misfortune and aftermaths of natural disasters while helping and cooperating with each other when in need on the principle of noble compatriotism and mutual support and assistance.
The humanitarian work between the north and the south can be truly meaningful and bear good fruits only when it is sincerely done without seeking any interests on the principle of mutual support and assistance, the nation's traditional good manners and customs.
Last year the DPRK realized the reunion of separated families and relatives without any conditions on the occasion of the Harvest Moon Day and sent back the fishing boat and its crew of the south side which illegally intruded into the territorial waters of the DPRK side and the personnel of the south side who were put in custody after conducting illegal actions in the Kaesong Industrial Zone under the complicated situation where the north-south relations were severed.
This year it proposed arranging the reunion of separated families and relatives again on the occasion of the Harvest Moon Day and sent back soon a
fishing boat of the south side and its crew that intruded into the economic waters of the DPRK side under the situation where the north-south confrontation grew tenser.
Pointing out that Red Cross humanitarian issues can surely be settled if the north and the south make joint efforts from a sincere attitude and stand, the head of the delegation of the DPRK side proposed the following points to be discussed and solved at the talks.
First, he proposed organizing the reunion of separated families and relatives on a normal footing.
The proposal includes the arrangement of 3-4 reunions of separated families and relatives each year with main emphasis on organizing them on the occasions of folk holidays and the proper combination of them with video meeting and video exchange of letters. 100 from each side can be involved in the reunion to suit the actual conditions and the number of reunions and that of those involved in them may be increased depending on the improvement of the inter-Korean relations and creation of an atmosphere of reconciliation in the future.
Then it is necessary to reenergize the humanitarian cooperation.
To this end it is necessary to create environment and conditions for revitalizing the humanitarian cooperation undertaking.
The proposals advanced by the DPRK side at the talks are the most realistic and reasonable offers as they reflected its firm will to settle the issue of the reunion of separated families and relatives in the north and the south and other humanitarian matters in line with the desire and wishes of all fellow countrymen.
The south side, however, insisted on the discussion on the issue of making the reunion of separated families and relatives regular, persistently shunning the sincere proposals of the DPRK side and took the stand of rejecting under absurd pretexts the matters of creating urgent conditions for putting the reunion on a normal footing including the issue of regularly operating the Mt. Kumgang Reunion Centre.
In the end, the south side went the lengths of suggesting to discuss the matter at the next round of the talks, openly shunning the discussion on the matter itself. It insisted on opening the next round of the talks late in November, delaying the date of opening the talks.
This proves that the south side came out for the talks under the pressure of public opinion at home and abroad.
The stand of the south side, in the final analysis, clearly proved that it, in fact, has no intention to settle the issue of the reunion of separated families and relatives, revitalize the humanitarian work and settle the overall inter-Korean relations, while paying lip-service to the solution of the humanitarian issues.
The DPRK side warned the south side that if it, persisting in its insincere approach, lays a hurdle in the humanitarian work and shuns the process to improve the inter-Korean relations, the DPRK will be compelled to reconsider the sincere proposals and measures made so far to find solution to humanitarian issues and whether or not the reunion of separated families and relatives is let to go on will entirely depend on the attitude of the south side.
At the talks both sides agreed to further the discussion on the pending issues of mutual concern as regards the Red Cross humanitarian work between the north and the south. It was agreed to have the next round of talks on Nov. 25 and fix their venue later.
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