North Korea shelves talks on family reunions

AFP , Thursday 11 Jul 2013

North Korea's sudden move came a day after the two Koreas agreed in principle to hold a Red Cross meeting on family reunions

North Korea has retracted its proposal to hold talks with South Korea on restarting a family reunion programme, a Seoul official said Thursday.

"In a message sent today to our side, North Korea said it is retracting its proposal," in an effort to focus on separate discussions on reopening a jointly-run industrial estate, a unification ministry official told AFP.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang proposed that a Red Cross meeting on restarting a temporary family reunion programme be held 19 July. It also suggested talks 17 July on restarting tours by southerners to its Mount Kumgang resort.

The North's sudden move came a day after the two Koreas agreed in principle to hold a Red Cross meeting on family reunions.

The South agreed in principle to open talks on reunions for families separated since the 1950-53 war, but said it was premature to discuss the Kumgang tours while the Kaesong talks are still ongoing.

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