Wednesday, March 26, 2008

(Photo above) South Korean fisherman who were abducted by North Korea in the 1970s. This photo was taken by North Korea.

Hi everyone...check out the article below. It is very, very, very encouraging. For the first time in a long time, ever since the families started their campaign to bring the Japanese abductees home, they now have a friend in the South Korean President. Let's hope this opens the dialogue up a little...

South Korea to press North on POWs

March 26, 2008 - 3:11PM

South Korea's new conservative government wants North Korea to answer questions about the fate of its prisoners of war and abducted civilians, officials say.

South Korea's recent liberal administrations had largely skirted the issue of more than 1,000 civilian abductees and POWs captured during the 1950-1953 Korean War for fear it would jeopardise warming ties with the prickly neighbour.

"North Korea must recognise that the relationship of cooperation between the South and the North is about getting help and giving help," President Lee Myung-bak said ahead of a report from the Unification Ministry on its policy agenda.

"I believe we will hold serious dialogue on the prisoners of war and abductees as a humanitarian issue, as well as the separated families," Lee said.

Vice Unification Minister Hong Yang-ho said it was the government's top priority to press the North on the issue of prisoners of war and missing civilians.

"We will be bringing it up with priority at every channel of communication with the North," Hong told reporters.

Under the two liberal presidents who ruled for 10 years prior to conservative Lee, the two Koreas mostly avoided direct discussions on returning POWs and abductees.

In official talks, the two had used the euphemism "people who went missing during and after the war" to describe the group.

North Korea has insisted that it is not holding any South Koreans against their will, but has allowed 25 prisoners of war and civilian abductees to meet their relatives from the South as part of regular reunions of families separated during the war.