S. Korea expresses disappointment over North's delay on talks

July 13, 2013 at 11:42 AM

SEOUL, July 13 (UPI) -- Seoul has expressed regrets over Pyongyang postponement of talks on reuniting families separated by the Korean War.

North Korea this week proposed holding talks with the South on helping reunite families on both sides of the countries' shared border, and restarting cross-border South Korean sightseeing tours to a mountain resort in the North, Yonhap News Agency reported.

However, when South Korea only agreed to talk about the reunification efforts, Pyongyang put a hold on both of its proposals.

"The family reunion program is a purely humanitarian matter that needs to be handled as soon as possible," Kim Hyung-suk, a spokesman for South Korea's Unification Ministry, said Friday. "With the passage of time, the number of people who have applied for reunions with their loved ones is declining rapidly."

Millions of South Koreans were separated from their families during the Korean War in the 1950s.

More than 128,000 South Koreans have applied to meet with their families in the North. However, only 72,000 are alive now, and over 80 percent of them are more than 70 years old, the South has said.

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