SEOUL, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Monday reiterated its different views with Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) over the issue of reunion of families separated by the Korean War (1950-53), indicating that it would address the issue separately from the issue of resuming Mount Kumgang tours.
Unification Ministry spokesman Kim Hyung-seok told a press briefing that Seoul positively assessed Pyongyang's acceptance of its dialogue offer to discuss the family reunion issue "as I said yesterday about the government's stance."
Kim, however, noted that the dialogue venue would be the Peace House on the South Korean side of the border village of Panmunjom, not the Mount Kumgang resort that the DPRK proposed as the place for holding the inter-Korean Red Cross working-level talks on the family reunion issue.
Seoul's repeated refusal of Mount Kumgang as a dialogue venue reflected its cautious stance on possible intent of the DPRK to link the family reunion issue with the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours.
A day earlier, Pyongyang accepted Seoul's proposal to hold talks on reunion of separated families, but it stressed that the talks should be held on Mount Kumgang. The DPRK made a separate suggestion to hold working-level talks on the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours on Aug. 22, a day ahead of the reunion dialogue.
Spokesman Kim said that Seoul's stance over the proposed talks on resuming the tours would be unveiled after making a comprehensive review on various situations.
Tours to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, were halted in 2008 when a South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier after apparently venturing into an off-limit area. The tours had brought nearly 2 million South Koreans annually to the scenic mountain before it was put on hold.
The DPRK said Sunday that the two Koreas can discuss the issues such as preventing recurrence of the tourist incident, guaranteeing safety of tourists and protecting assets, to which Seoul pays much attention.
Family reunions were initially proposed Thursday by South Korean President Park Geun-hye in her speech for the National Liberation Day that marked the country's independence from the Japanese colonial rule. Park suggested the reunion to be held around the time of the upcoming Chuseok holidays, one of the most important traditional festivals in South Korea.
Her proposal came a day after Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to reopen the jointly operated factory park in the DPRK's border town of Kaesong, where 123 South Korean companies run factories.
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