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North Korea says family reunions on 'thin ice' in warning against South

North Korea said Seoul was placing family reunions at risk after South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Pyongyang should refrain from nuclear proliferation.

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea says family reunions on 'thin ice' in warning against South
Park Geun-hye, president of South Korea, addresses the 70th session of the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly on Monday at the UN in New York City. On Tuesday, North Korea denounced the South Korean leader for taking issue with its nuclear weapons program. Photo by Monika Graff/UPI | License Photo

SEOUL, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- North Korea warned the South about a possible cancellation of the planned North-South family reunions, if Seoul continues to oppose Pyongyang's plans for a satellite launch and a nuclear test.

"Because of the reckless anti-[North Korea] confrontational racket of the South, the rare reunions of separated families are at stake like being on a thin ice," an unidentified spokesman for the North's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea said in a statement on Tuesday, Yonhap reported.

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On Monday, South Korean President Park Geun-hye told the United Nations General Assembly that resolving the North Korean nuclear issue should be given the "highest priority," and Pyongyang would "do well to choose reform ... rather than additional provocations."

South Korean news network YTN reported Pyongyang did not mention Park by name, but instead said the "individual in power in the South" had committed habitual slander about a "common people" before foreign member-states.

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"This is an unpardonable provocation against us and a vicious confrontational move that hurts the hard-won conciliatory mood between the North and the South," the North Korean spokesman said. "It is a unified opinion in and out of the country that the mood can be completely broken if South Korean officials continue to make such confrontational remarks."

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Seoul and Pyongyang had tentatively agreed to a rare reunion of separated families in North Korea's Mount Kumgang region from Oct. 20-26. The South had initially requested a date prior to Oct. 10, the 70th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's Workers Party, but Pyongyang insisted reunions take place after the celebrations.

North Korea has reaffirmed its intention to launch a long-range rocket and defended its "sovereign right" to conduct scientific research, as well as to manufacture and launch space satellites.

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Seoul and Washington oppose the rocket launches, which are believed to be part of North Korea's plan to test ballistic missile technology. More sanctions could follow if Pyongyang launches satellites around the time of the 70th anniversary.

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