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Report: Seoul is drafting strategies to engage North Korea
SEOUL, South Korea, Dec. 20 (UPI) — If North Korea doesn’t launch another provocation, South Korea is likely to propose various measures to improve relations early next year, according to a DongA Ilbo exclusive.
Multiple government sources told the paper on Wednesday that the government is currently drafting a confidential ‘”roadmap for denuclearization,” which contains various tactics for reaching out to the North.
According to one source, the strategies aim to resolve various inter-Korean issues by inducing a response from Pyongyang, rather than wait for it to declare its denuclearization.
He added, “All proposals are based on the assumption that the North does not carry out additional provocations.”
The options include inter-Korean military talks, easing of tensions along the Military Demarcation Line, preventing accidental clashes along the truce line, arms control and other military arrangements.
The proposed delay of joint military drills between South Korea and the United States is also believed to be included.
Regional and sectoral experts were consulted to design measures to address Beijing, Tokyo and neighboring countries’ response to various scenarios.
Another source said, “Humanitarian assistance and the reunions of separated families are being considered as secondary options.”
There are more than 60,000 people in the South who have been separated from their family members in the North for almost seven decades, following the Korean War.
20 family gatherings have taken place in the last 17 years, after the two Koreas adopted the June 15th North-South Joint Declaration in 2000. However, due to tensions between the Koreas, the mass gatherings have been stalled since 2015.
However, time is running out. More than half of the 130,000 people who registered for family reunions over the years passed away as of August this year.
More than 85 percent of the survivors are older than 70, according to Hankyoreh.