[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

N Korea postpones family reunions with South

Tensions are raised as Pyongyang accuses Seoul of "poisoning dialogue" and "heightening the conflict".

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2013 06:21
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
The neighbours remain technically at war as 1950-53 war ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty

North Korea has postponed a scheduled series of reunions for families separated for six decades since the 1950-53 Korean War, dealing a blow to months of efforts to improve relations between the neighbours.

In a statement on Saturday, the North accused South Korea of “poisoning dialogue to heighten the conflict” and said “the reunions will happen when there can be a normal atmosphere for negotiations to be held”.

Six days of meetings between family members still separated after the war had been due to start on Wednesday in the Mount Kumgang resort, north of the militarised border.

The reunions would have been the first in nearly three years.

North Korea also said it was putting off planned talks on resuming tours of Mount Kumgang, suspended after a North Korean guard shot dead a South Korean tourist in 2008. The talks had been set early October.

There was no immediate comment from the South Korean government.

Technically at war

The neighbours remain technically at war as the 1950-53 war ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty. The conflict left millions of families divided, with travel across the border all but impossible and nearly all forms of communication barred.

The abrupt announcement upended an easing of tensions in recent months.

Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul told Reuters that authorities in Pyongyang were trying seeking to secure more concessions from the South, a recurring tactic used by the North.

Concessions on this occasion, he said, were aimed particularly at lucrative tourism to Mount Kumgang.

"For North Korea, the tours come first and family reunions come later. It is the opposite for South Korea", he said.

281

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.