North Korea cancels reunions with South

AFP-JIJI

North Korea indefinitely postponed Saturday reunions for families separated since the Korean War, just days before they were to resume.

The highly symbolic and emotional meetings of selected families from the North and South, separated for six decades by the 1950-53 war on the peninsula, would have been the first reunions in three years.

The North’s state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted the government as saying South Korea’s “hostile” policy was to blame for the last-minute cancellation, singling out its joint-military exercises with the U.S.

Analysts believe the move is designed to place pressure on South Korea to resume cross-border tours to the scenic Mount Kumgang resort that is an important source of revenue for the North’s cash-strapped communist regime.

The two sides had agreed to hold six days of reunions at the Mount Kumgang resort from Sept. 25-30. The reunion program had been suspended after the North’s shelling of a South Korean border island in November 2010.