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North Korea blames South’s president for preventing family reunions

SEOUL, April 1 (UPI) —North Korea blamed South Korean President Park Geun-hye for a standoff that has prevented the resumption of inter-Korea family reunions.

North Korea’s Red Cross Society lambasted Park on Friday in a statement issued by state news agency KCNA.

In a letter issued in the name of the Red Cross Central Committee’s spokesman, North Korea stated that “scattered families, the reunion of relatives and other issues of humanitarian concern between North and South are not being resolved because of Park Geun-hye.”

The statement also called Park a traitor and the South’s presidential Blue House a warmongering institution. North Korea said family reunions couldn’t be resumed because of the South’s stance, and poured scorn on Park for allegedly turning the blame on Pyongyang.

Various other North Korean organizations have issued similar statements, Yonhap reported.

Seoul expressed regret about the North’s statement, local news service News 1 reported.

South Korea said the issue of family reunions is an urgent one of “pressing humanitarian concern,” and that the North was ignoring the humanitarian nature of the project in favor of creating political confrontation with the South.

Seoul said it places top priority on the issue of separated families and that its position hasn’t changed since the rise in tensions on the Korean peninsula.

In February North Korea confronted the South over remarks made by Seoul’s unification minister that addressed the challenges facing family reunions in the wake of a nuclear test and a rocket launch.

“Even mentioning the ‘family reunions’ at this stage for the [South Korea] puppets is the ultimate effrontery,” Pyongyang had said.

North Korea had said it proposed talks to reopen Mount Kumgang to South Korean tourists but that the South had refused Pyongyang’s terms of offer.

The most recent inter-Korea family reunion was held in North Korea in late October.

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