SEOUL, South Korea, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon urged North Korea on Wednesday to allow separated families to see their long-lost relatives, saying resolving the issue should be the first step toward peace and reconciliation between the two sides.
Since their first summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 20 rounds of family reunion events in which relatives living separated across the border since the 1950-53 Korean War are allowed to spend a few days together for the first time. No such event has been held for two years since the last one in October 2015.
In July, the South proposed talks on setting up another round, but the North didn't respond.
"Two years has passed since the reunions of separated families were suspended," Cho said during a joint ancestral ritual that separated families held at the Imjingak park near the border with the North to mark the Chuseok holiday.
"Since proposing family reunions on July 6, the government has used every opportunity to call for the North to respond," he said. "I once again urge North Korea to come forward to a path toward peace and reconciliation by resolving the issue of separated families."