SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- South Korea on Tuesday proposed to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to hold talks about resuming Mount Kumgang tours on Sept. 25.
"Today, North Korea (DPRK) sent a notice of urging us to respond to its proposal of holding working-level talks on the resumption of Mount Kumgang tours through the communication line at the truce village of Panmunjom," the Ministry of Unification said in a statement.
In response to it, Seoul sent the message that it preferred to hold such talks at Mount Kumgang on Sept. 25 rather than this Thursday (Aug. 22) that the DPRK proposed as the date for the dialogue.
The ministry said that the two Koreas should seek constructive ways to resume the tours by approaching the issue in a more cautious manner given that the tours have been halted for more than five years.
The ministry stressed that reunion of families separated by the Korean War (1950-53) was a sheerly humanitarian issue, noting that it was not associated with the Kumgang tours resumption.
The ministry said that it would be desirable to develop inter- Korean relations by building trust gradually.
Tours to Mount Kumgang, launched in 1998, were halted in 2008 after a South Korean female tourist was shot dead by a DPRK soldier for 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.
The DPRK on Sunday agreed to hold working-level talks with South Korea on Aug. 23 to discuss the reunion of separated families.
DPRK proposed that the Red Cross talks between the two sides should be held at Mount Kumgang instead of Panmunjom.
South Korea on Friday proposed talks on family reunion on Aug. 23 at the Peace House on the South Korean side of Panmunjom, where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement was signed.
This proposal came a day after South Korean President Park Geun- hye called for such talks in her speech marking the country's National Liberation Day. She said that she hoped the DPRK will be able to work together to make the reunion of the separated families possible around the time of the upcoming Chuseok holidays.
Chuseok is one of the most important traditional festivals in South Korea.
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." Full story