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South Korea to discuss 'video reunions' with North

By
Elizabeth Shim
North Korean Ko Jeong-hui (L), 77, and Lee Gyeong-sun (R), 53, bid farewell to South Korean family member Lee Geum-yeon (not pictured), 87, at the Mount Kumgang resort, North Korea, in 2018. File Photo by O Jongchan/EPA-EFE
North Korean Ko Jeong-hui (L), 77, and Lee Gyeong-sun (R), 53, bid farewell to South Korean family member Lee Geum-yeon (not pictured), 87, at the Mount Kumgang resort, North Korea, in 2018. File Photo by O Jongchan/EPA-EFE

SEOUL, March 19 (UPI) -- The South Korean government is looking into "video reunions" for divided families in the North and South following the collapse of the U.S.-North Korea summit in Hanoi.

Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday the two sides are to begin working-level talks later this week to decide on a budget for inter-Korea reunions that could take place by video. The Inter-Korea Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Council will make the final decision, Money Today reported.

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Ahead of working-level talks, the Seoul-run Inter-Korea Cooperation Fund will decide what materials are necessary for the video reunions to take place. Detailed discussions with North Korea will happen afterward.

Discussions on family reunions previously took place at the newly built inter-Korea liaison office in Kaesong.

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The issue of bringing video equipment into North Korea was resolved last week, according to Money Today. The equipment, if brought into North Korea, would not be found in violation of United Nations Security Council or U.S. sanctions.

South Korea is also considering for the first time permitting Korean Americans to take part in the video reunions.

The two Koreas are headed into working-level talks as uncertainty lingers over next steps for U.S.-North Korea engagement.

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Pyongyang has said the Trump administration missed a "golden opportunity" during the summit to reach a deal. North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui also said Pyongyang will not cave into Washington's "gangster-like" demands.

North Korea could be reviewing its U.S. strategy.

The regime may have summoned its ambassadors to China and the United Nations, Yonhap reported Tuesday.

RELATED Seoul official: North Korea could be dismantling rocket launch pad

Amb. Ji Jae Ryong, posted to Beijing, and Kim Song, who heads the North Korean mission at the U.N. in New York, were seen headed to Pyongyang from Beijing on Tuesday afternoon, according to the report.

Ji and Kim could be attending a meeting of ambassadors or taking part in the newly elected Supreme People's Assembly.

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