North and South Korean Red Cross officials renewed proposals today to help reunite the families separated by the post-World War II division of the country.
South Korean chief delegate Lee Yung Duk proposed that both sides set up a joint Red Cross committee and joint project office in the truce village of Panmunjom to handle the mutual visits of the 10 million separated families. The South Korean also proposed an exchange of visitors by Aug. 15 this year, the 40th anniversary of the end of Japanese colonial rule in Korea.
North Korean chief delegate Li Chong Yul proposed instead that five points agreed to in previous sessions be discussed as a whole and that the two sides allow visits through Panmunjom and the border city of Chorwon with one month notice to the Red Cross. Li also proposed an exchange of folk art troupes led by the presidents of the respective Red Cross societies to create an "amicable atmosphere" for continued Red Cross dialogue.
The 84-member North Korean delegation arrived in the South Korean capital yesterday to reopen the talks, which have been suspended for 12 years. North Korea suspended political and Red Cross talks in August 1973. Then last September, after North Korea sent flood relief to the South, the two agreed to reopen a dialogue.
In January, North Korea canceled scheduled economic and Red Cross talks, blaming South Korean war games with U.S. forces planned for February, but the problem was worked out and economic talks began at Panmunjom May 17 after a five-month delay.