November 2, 2001

New Agreement Reached Between Korean Countries

The Republic of Korea (ROK) said yesterday that it had reached an agreement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the emotional issue of separated family members and a number of other topics.

Cabinet-level negotiators from the two sides plan to announce details today.

"A press statement that contains an agreement on the separated family issue and several other issues will be announced tomorrow morning," Lee Bong-jo, a spokesman for the ROK Government, said yesterday.

It was not clear whether negotiators had agreed on another round of reunions of family members who have been separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The two countries have disagreed over the location of a permanent site for reunions. The ROK has also appealed to the DPRK to allow correspondence between separated relatives.

After the first-ever summit of their leaders in June last year, the Koreas staged three rounds of temporary reunions for a total of 300 separated family members from each side.

The separated families epitomize the conflict that has divided the Korean peninsula for more than half a century. The border is sealed and there is no mail, telephone and other direct means of communications between ordinary people on both sides.

The talks in Seoul followed a six-month suspension of official contacts. Inter-Korean exchanges had stalled because of tension between the North and the United States.

On Sunday, both sides proposed the revival of several joint projects, including the reconnection of a cross-border railway and the construction of a Northern industrial park for Southern businesses.

The North's chief delegate, Kim Ryong Song, also proposed discussing the possible supply of Southern electricity to the impoverished North.

The Korean peninsula was divided in 1945. The 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty.

(chinadaily.com.cn 09/18/2001)

In This Series
Fifth Inter-Korean Meeting Commences



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