Data on families for Oct. reunions is exchanged

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Data on families for Oct. reunions is exchanged

South and North Korea exchanged the results of surveys on the whereabouts of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War and which members are still alive Monday at the border village of Panmunjom.

South Korea Monday received information on the fates of about 250 families in the North who are sought after by their relatives in the South. The North received similar information on about 200 families wanting to participate in reunions.

Following a review of the information, the list of families will be winnowed down to 100.

South Korea’s Red Cross and their North Korean counterpart will exchange a final list of 100 families from each side on Thursday, who will by reunited with their relatives at the scenic Mount Kumgang resort from Oct. 20 to 26.

The exchange on Monday came as the two Koreas prepare for the first family reunions in 20 months in accordance with an inter-Korean deal struck in August. The relatives have had no means of communicating since the division of the peninsula.

Holding family reunions has been an indicator of relations between Seoul and Pyongyang. In the past, the North has refused to hold the events to express annoyance with South Korea.

Seoul sees the reunions as one of the most pressing humanitarian matters in inter-Korean relations. Out of 66,292 people in the South registered for reunions, 35,997, or 54.3 percent, are in their 80s or older.

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