Repatriation of unconverted long-term prisoners urged

Pyongyang, November 18 (KCNA) — A spokesman for the Council for National Reconciliation issued a statement on Nov. 17 denouncing the South Korean authorities for refusing to send back the unconverted long-term prisoners to the north.

He said:

The central committee of the DPRK Red Cross Society urged the South Korean Red Cross to unconditionally send back all the unconverted long-term prisoners to the north before the end of this year. This was prompted by the desire to put an end to the long-standing confrontation between the north and south and greet a new millennium in a favourable atmosphere.

If an atmosphere of national reconciliation and trust is to be created, the South Korean authorities should be bold enough to drop the old conception of the confrontation and settle as soon as possible the question of unconverted long-term prisoners which may be a breakthrough in improving the inter-Korean relations.

Whether the issue of repatriating unconverted long-term prisoners is settled before the end of the year or not and whether a new epochal phase is opened to bring a thaw in the frozen relations between the north and the south or not entirely depend on the attitude of the South Korean authorities.

If the South Korean authorities truly want reconciliation and cooperation between the north and the south, they should lend an ear to the ardent appeal of all the fellow countrymen and human conscience and unconditionally and immediately send back Kim In So, Kim Yong Thae, Ham Se Hwan and other unconverted long-term prisoners to the north where their families and relatives are awaiting them.

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