N Korea postpones family reunions

North Korea is indefinitely postponing scheduled reunions of families separated by the Korean War, a government statement has said.

The statement did not provide details other than accusing unidentified conservatives in South Korea of seeking hostile confrontation with Pyongyang.

North Korea regularly makes such claims about the South.

The postponement is an apparent setback after weeks of gradually improving ties between the two countries.

The South Korean government has not yet responded to the announcement.

Relations reached a low point earlier this year when the North cut a military hotline to the South in March. That followed its third nuclear test in February, which triggered international sanctions.

The two Koreas were due to hold six days of family reunions from 25-30 September for people separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, following which millions of people were separated from their families.

But the North’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea was quoted as saying: “We postpone the impending reunions of separated families until a normal atmosphere is created for talks and negotiations to be able to move forward.”

“As long as the South’s conservatives deal [with] inter-Korean relations [with] hostility and abuse… such a basic humanitarian issue as family reunions cannot be resolved.”