North Korea on Monday proposed talks with South Korean Red Cross officials to discuss the return of 31 North Koreans whose boat drifted into South Korean waters last month. Demanding that South Korea return four of the drifters who have decided to stay, the North said it wants to bring them face to face with their families in the North in the border truce village of Panmunjom. Seoul says it would not dream of complying.
North Korea is effectively using the families of the four as hostages to blackmail them into changing their minds. Having made their tough decision to stay in South Korea, the four probably spent sleepless nights thinking about their families back in the North, who risk being made to suffer for it. Trying to make them face their families is tantamount to intimidation and torture.