The government held a ceremony on Wednesday to mark the newly designated Day of Separated Families.
With about 400 people in attendance, Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho strongly urged North Korea to respond to South Korea’s offer of talks to discuss families separated by the Korean War before it is too late.
The minister stressed that the issues of separated families, prisoners of war, abductees and detainees require a change of attitude from North Korea.
Criticizing the North for ignoring these fundamental issues while maintaining an obsession with developing nuclear weapons and missiles to bolster its dictatorial regime, Kim said that Pyongyang has remained unresponsive to Seoul’s offer and even cut off inter-Korean communication channels.
According to the unification ministry, some 133-thousand-700 people in South Korea have applied for family reunions as of the end of August, with about 93-thousand-300 already passing and 44-hundred still alive and waiting.
This March, South Korea designated August 13 of the lunar calendar, which is two days before the Chuseok holiday, as a commemorative day to raise public awareness of the separated family issue.