Names exchanged for inter-Korean reunions

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Names exchanged for inter-Korean reunions

Preparations for inter-Korean family reunions are proceeding as scheduled, with the final list of 100 reunion candidates from both exchanged yesterday at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea.

The two sides will take turns, with family members on North Korea’s list meeting with relatives from the South on Oct. 30.

The South Korean Ministry of Unification said yesterday that 97-year-old Kim Bu-rang would be the oldest member of the Southern group. Kim is to be reunited with her daughter and grandson.

For the elderly in the South who will be making the trip to the Mount Kumgang resort later this month, 51 from South Korea will meet long-lost brothers and sisters, while 24 will be meeting their spouses or children. The remaining 25 will meet with comparatively distant family relatives.

“I was hoping to meet my parents .?.?. but I’m happy and thankful that I will be meeting my sister at least,” said Kim Ki-jun, 86.

All those on the South Korean list are over 70-years-old, with 52 people in their 80s expected to make the trip to North Korea. Twenty-one people in their 90s are to be reunited with family members.

The South Korean government and the Red Cross have been pushing for regular and larger inter-Korean family reunions because reunion candidates are getting older and may not have much longer to meet their long-lost families. But North Korea has remained unchanged in its stance regarding the how often the reunions should take place and how many families should be involved.

Meanwhile, South Korean personnel are busy making trips to North Korea to inspect and repair accommodations at the mountain resort where the reunions will take place.

The family reunions will be held at the resort starting Oct. 30 with North Korean candidates meeting their relatives from the South for three days. South Korean candidates will meet their North Korean families from Nov. 3 until the reunions wrap up on Nov. 5.

By Christine Kim []
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