North Korea news: South Korea to demand reunification of ‘WAR-TORN families’ during talks | World | News


Cho Myoung-Gyon, South Korea’s unification minister, said the reunification of families and ways of reducing the rising tensions on the Korean peninsula will be raised during the talks, but the focus will remain on plans for the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

He told reporters: “We will listen to what North Korea will say. 

“We will make efforts to enable the North to take part in the games.

“Basically, the two sides will focus on the Olympics – when discussing inter-Korean relations, the government will seek to raise the issue of war-torn families and ways to east military tensions”.

Mr Cho will lead the five-strong South Korean delegation taking part in the talks, which are due to take place in one of the blue huts along the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that separates the two Koreas.

The huts have been the location for numerous talks between the North and the South since and armistice was signed to halt the three-year Korean War in 1953.

The two nations have not held high-level talks since December 2015 after North Korea cut off the communications channel and refused to answer calls, according to officials in Seoul.

South Korea reportedly tries to make contact with the North at least once a day.

Since high-level talks last took place Kim Jong-un’s regime has fired a whopping 47 missiles and conducted three nuclear tests.

Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics organising chief is holding out hopes that the two Koreas will compete as a single team during the Games, which begin next month.

Lee Hee-beom has raised the possibility of the two Koreas forming unified teams in figure skating and ice hockey for the Games to be held in the mountain village of Pyeongchang, just 50 miles (80km) from the inter-Korean border.

The two Koreas have competed as a single nation in sports events before, including football and table tennis matches, but have never joined forces for a major event such as the Olympics or the Asian Games.

The countries even marched together at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000 after North and South Korea held their first ever summit, but relations have since soured.

However, Lee, president of the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, is optimistically proposing the countries join forces for this years event.

He has even proposed North Korean athletes enter the south by crossing the heavily armed border between the two countries, which is widely considered one of the most dangerous divides in the world.

That would be the first time that North Korean athletes would arrive the South by road, the organiser said. North Korea has not responded to Lee’s proposals.

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