S. Korea to push for DNA tests on bodies of N. Koreans Pyongyang refuses to accept

SEOUL, The unification ministry said Monday it will push to conduct genetic testing on the bodies of North Koreans found in South Korean waters or coastlines in case North Korea refuses to accept them. The move is aimed at helping the families of the deceased North Koreans in the North identify their family member. The ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs said it will push to revise a related directive, as North Korea has been unresponsive to Seoul's offer to return the bodies of North Koreans amid frayed inter-Korean ties. When the bodies of North Korean citizens are washed away and found in South Korea due to flooding or other reasons, the ministry returns them to North Korea if Pyongyang will accept them. If the North does not accept them, the government cremates them in cooperation with the respective provincial governments in accordance with relevant procedures. Since North Korea cut off an inter-Korean liaison channel in April last year, North Korea remained unresponsive to Seoul's proposal to return such bodies in May and September last year. Since 2014, the government has carried out genetic tests on separated families in a bid to set up a database so that it can be used for finding their kin in North Korea after their deaths. The ministry said the latest move is aimed at expanding such a policy on humanitarian grounds. Since 2010, the bodies of 29 North Koreans have been found in South Korea. The North has accepted Seoul's offer to return the bodies in 23 cases, with the last case occurring in 2019. Source: Yonhap News Agency