Koreas exchange names of reunion families
SEOUL: Officials from South and North Korea on Sunday exchanged the names of candidates for the planned reunion of families kept apart since the Korean War which ended five decades ago.
The two Koreas have agreed to select 100 people each for five-day family gatherings from February 20 in the North’s Mount Kumgang resort. The family reunions have been pushed as part of inter-Korean reconciliation projects that began after a historic inter-Korean summit in 2000.
The 1950-53 war left millions of Koreans separated. Reuniting them is a highly emotional issue because most are in their 70s and 80s.
The two sides have forged ahead with family reunions and other reconciliation projects despite tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons drive.
They are to hold two rounds of discussions this week — four-day economic talks in Seoul from Tuesday and a three-day Red Cross meeting in Kumgang on the construction of a permanent family reunion center..
The economic meeting in Seoul will focus on cross-border rail and road links already close to completion as well as the proposed industrial complex at Kaesong in North Korea.
South Korean officials have said they would bring up the nuclear standoff as a separate agenda.
The two Koreas have agreed to reconnect two sets of rail and road links through the border — the Gyeongui line running to China up the west side of the peninsula and the Donghae line to Russia on the eastern side..
A South Korean delegation crossed the frontier last week in a test run through a temporary seaside road heading to Kumgang. —AFP