Kang Kyung-wha, Foreign Minister of South Korea, delivers her statement during the High-Level Segment of the 37th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. Picture: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP

Geneva - North Korea must abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and allow peace to take root on the divided peninsula, South Korea's foreign minister said on Monday.

Kang Kyung-wha, foreign minister of the Republic of Korea, also called for the resumption of visits between separated Korean families, as a "humanitarian and human rights issue", especially are many are in their 80s.

"It is imperative to ensure the Pyeongchang spirit lives long after so peace can take root on the Korean peninsula," Kang told the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva. "North Korea must heed the call and abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes."