The unification ministry said Thursday it has decided to recognize family members of long-term South Korean detainees in North Korea as victims of abductions by the isolated country.
The decision came three months after civic groups dedicated to resolving the issue requested Unification Minister Kim Yung-ho in August to grant such family members the status specified in South Korea's law on supporting victims of North Korean abductions.
The recognition will make the family members eligible for state compensation of about 15 million won ($11,234) to 20 million won per family, the ministry said.
Currently, six South Koreans, including pastor Kim Jung-wook, are known to be in detention in North Korea for years, with four of them having family members in South Korea.
The fate of the detainees remains unknown, as North Korea has not provided any information on their well-being.
"For a substantial solution to the issue of detainees, abductees and prisoners of war (in North Korea), the government will cooperate with civic groups to continue to draw attention at home and abroad, and closely coordinate with the international community," the ministry said. (Yonhap)