Ministry of Unification formulates third
master plan for the promotion of exchanges between separated families (2020-2022)
December 31, 2019
□ On December 31, the Ministry of Unification established the third
master plan for exchanges between separated families for the next
three years (2020-2022).
o Article 5 of the Act on
Inter-Korean Confirmation of the Life or Death of Separated Families
and Promotion of Exchange states that the Minister of Unification
shall formulate a master plan for the promotion of exchanges between
inter-Korean separated families (hereinafter referred to as “master
plan”) every three years.
o The Ministry of Unification
implemented the second master plan over the last three years
(2017-2019), and drafted the third master plan through discussions
with related agencies and consultations with experts.
□ The Ministry, considering the situational changes, supplemented
and developed the existing master plan with a focus on the following aspects.
o Plans to restore and open the Reunion Center for the Separated
Families at Mount Geumgang, hold video reunions, and exchange video
messages as agreed in the Pyongyang Joint Declaration of 2018 were
added to the master plan.
o Considering the urgency of the issue, the Ministry sought
specific measures for aging separated families such as the promotion
of additional exchanges of families that have once had chances of reunions.
o The master plan calls for expanding the definition of ‘separated
families’ to include those living overseas and special separated
family members such as Korean War prisoners of war (POWs), abductees,
and those detained in North Korea.
□ The third master plan has two goals, four strategies, six main
tasks, and twenty-two specific tasks for the fundamental resolution of
the separated family issue, and the tasks are as follows.
① The government will push forward to diversify and regularize
exchanges between separated families at the inter-Korean government
- It will pursue inter-Korean negotiations with
the goal of regularizing and normalizing face-to-face reunions, video
reunions and exchanges of video messages; and realizing visits to
hometowns, confirmation of life or death of separated families and
exchange of letters.
② The government will vitalize private and personal exchanges of
- It will review new exchange
methods including hometown visits. It will revise the guidelines on
the subsidization of expenses for exchanges of separated families to
support additional reunions.
③ The government will
strive to address the issues of special separated family
- While recognizing the issues of special
separated family members as the primary responsibility of the
government, it will seek to resolve issues concerning Korean War POWs,
abductees, and those detained in North Korea. It will handle the
repatriation of North Korean residents, ships, and bodies under
humanitarian grounds and in close cooperation with related agencies.
④ The government will establish a foundation for exchange between
- While striving for an early
opening of the Reunion Center at Mount Geumgang and regular reunions
of separated families, it will produce video messages, conduct genetic
tests, update the separated family register, and carry out a survey on
the actual state of separated families as planned.
⑤ The government will build consensus on policies concerning
- It will see to it that more
low-income separated family households are invited to events arranged
to console the separated families. It will allow for more separated
family members to participate in counseling programs to improve their
- It will build consensus on the issues of separated families and
preserve their history and culture by creating consolation and
commemoration areas and sculptures; supporting the production of
creative works through medium including music festivals and soap
operas; and lending out more collections and records.
⑥ The government will expand the beneficiaries of policies
concerning separated families.
- Through opportunities
such as policy briefings, it will help second and third generation
separated family members, female members, and those living overseas
who are not yet listed on the separated family register to file
applications for locating separated families.
□ Based on the third master plan, the government will make utmost
efforts to resolve the issues of separated families.
It will continue to work to diversify and regularize exchanges of
separated families. If the North does not respond to cooperation
requests, the government will explore alternatives and create
favorable conditions to ensure the resolution of the issues.