Koreans discuss POWs, abductees

Red Cross societies from the divided Koreas on Tuesday began three days of talks expected to focus on hundreds of South Korean prisoners of war and abductees believed held in North Korea.


Officials were meeting at a resort in North Korea for their first talks since November 2003, South Korea's Red Cross said.

The two sides each proposed an agenda focused on expanding reunions of separated families including video linkups, and on the sensitive issue of South Korean POWs and abductees, joint pool reports said.

South Korea's Defense Ministry estimates that 538 South Korean prisoners from the 1950-53 Korean War were alive in North Korea as of December 2004. The Unification Ministry estimates that 486 South Korean abductees are also being held in North Korea.

The Korean War ended in a truce, not in a peace treaty, and the border between the two countries is sealed with barbed-wire and mine fields, and is guarded by nearly 2 million troops on both sides.

Von: 24 August 2005, http://www.cantonrep.com

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