[EDITORIALS]This is humanitarian?

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[EDITORIALS]This is humanitarian?

Mount Geumgang is covered with tears and sighs of families from the South and the North who were reunited after 50-odd years of separation. Since only six meeting sessions spread over two nights and three days were allowed, we can understand their tears, sighs and self-pity. How can they, within such a short period, release from their minds the sorrow pent up for 50 years? They must feel simply heartbroken by the realization that they would never meet again. It was not a joy, but the start of a new tragedy for them.

But those who met their families are the lucky ones in reality. There are more than 120,000 persons in the South who applied for the reunions and who are desperate to see their kin. One woman died just before the reunion, a reminder that there is not much time left for these separated families. How will they ever all see their families if reunions are this infrequent?

How long will both governments continue these artificially engineered events to solve this most basic humanitarian problem? How long will North Korea continue to approach this matter as if it is doing a favor to the South? Without solving this single matter properly, how long will Seoul allow itself to be led around by the nose by the North? The solution is relatively simple. North and South Korea should allow their people to exchange letters and build reunion centers at Panmunjeom and Mount Geumgang to establish a systematic reunion procedure. North and South Korea have already discussed the building of such reunion centers. Allowing the exchange of letters and running reunion centers would be less of an impact on the North Korean system than ceremonial events of the kind these family reunions have become.

We have a problem with our government, which lacks North Korea's tenacity and the iron will it displayed when it persuaded South Korea to send back unconverted long-term prisoners of conscience to North Korea. This family reunion should not be left in the uncertain hands of the Red Cross. The government should pursue the North tenaciously and the North must accept the plan so that the ground for national cooperation can be consolidated.
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