South Korea's Unification Minister Kwon Young-se has proposed to North Korea that the two countries hold talks aimed at resuming reunions of families that were separated during the Korean War.
Kwon stressed the urgency of the matter during a news conference on Thursday.
He pointed out that many of those with family members across the countries' heavily fortified border are now in their 80s or 90s.
He said the two sides should immediately take all measures available so that the problem can be resolved swiftly and fundamentally while the family members are still alive.
Kwon said South Korea's government is ready to hold dialogue with the North anytime, anywhere and in any format, even online, by fully taking into account whatever the North requests in terms of time and place.
The reunions have not taken place since 2018, when an inter-Korean summit took place.
It's unclear whether the North will agree to the proposal, given the hostile attitude it has shown toward the administration of South Korea's President Yoon Suk-yeol, who has vowed to strengthen ties with the United States.
Meanwhile, South Korea's defense ministry has pointed out that the North will mark its foundation anniversary on Friday and could hold celebratory mass events. The ministry said it is monitoring the situation carefully.