Updated March. 06, 2014 02:16
South Korea has proposed to hold working-level Red Cross talks with North Korea next Wednesday at a border village to discuss ways to fundamentally address the issue of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, including regularizing reunion events. Seoul made the proposal through the inter-Korean liaison telephone channel in the border village of Panmunjom at 11:15 a.m. on Wednesday, according to sources.
Seoul`s Unification Ministry said the proposal was a follow-up measure for South Korean President Park Geun-hye`s March 1 address to hold reunions of separated families on a regular basis in consideration of the agony of the aging separated families, calling for the North`s "quick response."
The South Korean government is said to be planning to propose weekly reunions to North Korea so that more than 6,000 separated families can be reunited a year.
Currently, there are 71,503 survivors in South Korea who have applied for a chance to be reunited with their families in the North while 81.5 percent, 58,258 people, are at ages 70 or older.
"Considering the average life expectancy of the survivors, some 6,000 people should be reunited every year over the next 10 years," a government official said. "Excluding winter season (December February), 670 people a month, or approximately 170 people a week, should be reunited."