South Korea regrets North Korea's stand on family reunions

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Seoul, Feb 6: South Korea expressed regrets on Thursday over North Korea's linking the issue of reunion of families separated in the 1950-53 Korean War with the military issue after Pyongyang called Seoul to cancel its upcoming joint military exercises with the US.

South Korea's unification ministry spokesman Kim Eui-do said in an emergency press briefing that it was regrettable for North Korea to threaten possible failures to fulfill the agreement on family reunions citing the scheduled joint military drills between South Korea and the US, Xinhua reported.

Kim said that the family reunions had nothing to do with the South Korea-US military exercises, noting that the joint drills were defensive in nature.

His statement came after North Korea's National Defence Commission urged South Korea to cancel the joint military exercises. North Korea's top military body warned Thursday that dialogue and the rehearsal for war of aggression can never be compatible.

Citing negative reports in a section of the South Korean media on North Korea's top leader Kim Jong-un's recent visit to childcare centres, the commission said that the implementation of the agreement between the two countries, apparently pointing to the agreed reunion of separated families, might have to be reviewed if South KOrea's slandering of its supreme leader continued.

Kim said the South Korean government has never slandered North Korea noting that it was an unreasonable demand for Pyongyang to urge Seoul to control the media.

The two countries agreed Wednesday to stage the reunion of families from Feb 20 to 25 at North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort. If it is held, it would be the first reunion in more than three years.


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