Delegations from North and South Korea started two-day talks organized by the Red Cross. South Korea demanded more frequent family reunions while North demanded tours to its Mount Kumgang resort be allowed to resume.
North and South Korean Red Cross officials started two-day talks on Tuesday in Kaesong, North Korea. Topping their agenda… inter-Korean humanitarian issues, including reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
Domestic media report North Korean officials want to resume tours to the Mount Kumgang resort.
South Korea's chief delegate emphasized the importance of more family reunions.
[Kim Yong-hyun, Chief Delegate, South Korea]:
"Now we have a meeting ahead of family reunions. We have high expectation of this opportunity to improve the scale and frequency of family reunions."
North Korea's chief delegate talked about (quote) "a good faith bringing another good faith," implying that a resumption of the tours would bring more frequent reunions.
The two Koreas began reunions in 2000 for the hundreds of thousands of divided families, but the events have been on hold for more than a year due to political tension.
Two rounds of family reunions are scheduled to be held in North Korea's Mount Kamgang, starting Saturday.
North Korea has proposed to host talks with the South on resuming tours to enclaves inside its territory that were a vital source of hard cash.
Tours to the Kumgang resort were suspended after a North Korean soldier shot dead a South Korean housewife there in July 2008, after she wandered into a restricted area.
Seoul has demanded an apology for the shooting and better safety for visitors before it will allow the tours to resume.