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Summary of inter-Korean news this week

All News 16:00 January 03, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 3 (Yonhap) -- The following is a summary of inter-Korean news this week.

Seoul to encourage private-level exchanges between separated families

SEOUL, Dec. 31 (Yonhap) -- South Korea will encourage separated families to seek private exchanges with their relatives in North Korea, the unification ministry said Tuesday, as official reunions and exchanges are unlikely to resume anytime soon due to the deadlocked inter-Korean relations.

It is part of the government's three-year plan to facilitate exchanges between families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War at a time when Pyongyang remains unresponsive to Seoul's repeated offers for talks.

Under the plan, members of separated families will be provided with financial support from the government when they seek reunions with their North Korean relatives in a third country or other forms of exchange.

S. Korea urges Pyongyang not to conduct threatened test of 'new strategic weapon'

SEOUL, Jan. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korea urged North Korea not to carry out its threatened test of a "new strategic weapon" Wednesday, saying such an act would not help denuclearization negotiations and efforts to build peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Seoul issued the appeal hours after North Korean media reported that leader Kim Jong-un sees no reason to continue his self-declared moratorium on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and warned that the world will soon see a "new strategic weapon."

"The government makes it clear that if the North carries that out, it would not help denuclearization negotiations and efforts to build peace on the Korean Peninsula," the unification ministry said.

Ministry closely watches possibility of N. Korea's message on S. Korea

SEOUL, Jan. 2 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Thursday it is closely watching whether North Korea will announce a separate message on inter-Korean relations after leader Kim Jong-un made no mention of South Korea in his recent remarks at a key party meeting.

In a four-day ruling party plenary meeting held until Tuesday, Kim offered policy directions on key domestic and diplomatic issues, including his stance on denuclearization talks with the United States.

Kim, however, made no mention of South Korea in his remarks, which were seen as a replacement of his highly anticipated New Year's Day speech that was expected to provide his policy stance on issues that also included South Korea.

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