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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

N.Korea presses for family reunions

RIA Novosti

09:29 11/09/2010

MOSCOW, September 11 (RIA Novosti) - North Korea has proposed Red Cross talks with the South on the reunion of families separated since the Korean War in the 1950s, the North's KCNA news agency said on Saturday.

The North Korean Red Cross proposed to arrange the meeting at the resort of Mount Kumgang, just 50 kilometers from the Korean armed border.

Seoul's Red Cross said it would discuss the proposal with the government.

If these reunions take place, they may indicate that both Koreas are willing to take steps towards something of a thaw on the Korean Peninsula.

Some 20,000 people have taken part in the family reunions since North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the then president of South Korea, Kim Dae-Jung, held their historic summit in Pyongyang in 2000 as part of Seoul's "Sunshine policy" towards the North.

However, relations between the two Koreas have deteriorated since South Korean President Lee Myung-bak took office in 2007. But speaking in an interview with the Russian media on Friday, Lee said he wants Seoul's ties with Pyongyang to normalize.

The two Koreas are embroiled in a bitter dispute over March's sinking of the South Korean Cheonan corvette. Seoul says Pyongyang fired a torpedo at the vessel but the North denies the accusations.

Technically, the two countries are still at war, since no peace treaty was signed following the Korean War in 1953.

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