Mt. Kumgang Likely to Be Meeting Point for Separated Families

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Mt. Kumgang Likely to Be Meeting Point for Separated Families

MDP Chief Policymaker Lee Hae-chan announced that Mt. Kumgang will most likely be the meeting point for separated families between South and North Korea

Lee hosted an August 24 ruling party meeting with officials from the Unification Ministry, including Vice Minister Yang Young-shik. After the meeting, Lee announced to reporters that "Panmunjom is not an appropriate meeting point because of the fact that reports must be filed to the ROK-U.S. Combined Forces Command whenever a meeting is held. As well, various talks, including the Military Armistice Commission meeting, already occupy Panmunjom at regular intervals."

The government will reportedly suggest the building of a meeting center in Mt. Kumgang, at the second round of minister-level talks between South and North Korea from August 29 to 31 in Pyongyang.

The government also discussed a proposal that would set regularly sceduled exchanges between South and North Koreans to their respective hometowns during traditional holiday periods such as New Year's Day and Chusok. The MDP and the opposition agreed to discuss their proposals with the North Korean government as soon as possible and to allow separated families to have video conference calls.

'Peace Park' will be built at the border crossing on the Kyongui Line (railroad between Seoul and Shinuiju) and could act as the meeting point for reunions between separated families. It will not only include a meeting point and lodges for separated families, but also a South-North joint railroad station. A government source says that the park will ultimately be enlarged to become a 'Peace City.'

Talk of reducing the cost of exchanging separated families was tossed about - one idea is to reduce the period of each reunion, while another is to categorize the separated family members to be reunited according to their level of income.

by Lee Sang-il

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