Saturday, February 15, 2014

Koreas: Two Koreas should use momentum of family reunions to build further mutual trust

UN - 14 February 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the two Koreas to build on the momentum generated by their agreement to hold family reunions later this month to take further steps to foster confidence and trust.

“Tension between the two Koreas has been high and inter-Korean relations have remained strained for far too long,” Mr. Ban said in a statement issued by his spokesperson on the agreement between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) to hold the reunions from February 20-25 at Mount Kumgang in the DPRK as scheduled.

“As such, this important development is a step in the right direction. The Secretary-General encourages both sides to keep up the momentum by continuing high-level engagement and taking further steps to build confidence and trust,” the statement added.

He said he is particularly encouraged by the agreement after he called upon the DPRK, during his meeting in Sochi, Russia, with Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, “to show flexibility and to decouple humanitarian matters, such as family reunions, from political and security matters.”

While in Sochi, where he attended the opening of the Winter Olympic Games, Mr. Ban also met Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he thanked China’s leadership role towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and reducing tensions there.

He urged Mr. Xi to encourage the parties to take positive confidence-building steps such as family reunions and to follow through on them.

“The Secretary-General reaffirms his strong commitment to contribute to promoting peace, development and stability on the Korean peninsula as well as improving inter-Korean relations,” today’s statement concluded.