Pyongyang also wants to use the reunions as a way to win political and humanitarian concessions from the conservative government of South Korean President Park Geun-hye, which took office a year ago, Chang said. During the more liberal South Korean government rule that ended six years ago, Seoul rewarded Pyongyang with rice and fertilizer shipments for arranging the family reunions.
But now Seoul is unlikely to approve big aid shipments for more reunions unless North Korea also takes serious nuclear disarmament measures, analysts say — something Pyongyang seems unwilling to do.
On Monday, South Korea offered sending vaccines and disinfectants to North Korea after the country recently reported its first outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease since January 2012, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry. The items would be South Korea's first direct government-level aid shipment to North Korea since 2010, ministry officials said.
Associated Press writer Kwon Su Hyeon contributed to this report.