Reunions scheduled for end of October

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Reunions scheduled for end of October

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A man fills out an application for reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War at the headquarters of the Korean Red Cross in Jung District, central Seoul, on Tuesday. The two Koreas agreed Tuesday to hold reunions at Mount Kumgang from Oct. 20 to 26. The last reunions were held in February 2014. [NEWSIS]

South and North Korea agreed to hold reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War from Oct. 20 to 26 at the resort in Mount Kumgang. South Korea’s Unification Ministry said Tuesday that the two Koreas reached an agreement on resuming the family reunions after nearly 24 hours of talks hashing out the details at the border village of Panmunjom.
Under the agreement, 100 relatives will be chosen from each side for reunions after more than 60 years of separation.

The agreement to resume the emotional events, which were last held in February 2014, further raised expectations for improvement in inter-Korean relations after a six-point agreement was reached between the two sides on Aug. 25, which defused tensions that could have led to a direct military clash along the border.
The two Koreas also agreed to hold additional talks on issues related to the reunions, such as holding them on a regular basis, according to Lee Duck-haeng, chief of the three-member delegation from the South that took part in the negotiations.

Mt. Kumgang, which is in North Korean territory, has a resort built by South Korea that has a dedicated reunion facility. South Korean tours to Mt. Kumgang were halted in July 2008 after a South Korean tourist was fatally shot by a North Korean guard for still unknown reasons. North Korea has been eager for the tours to resume because of the foreign exchange they earn the regime.

BY KANG JIN-KYU [kang.jinkyu@joongang.co.kr]

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