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Koreas Agree to Revive Family Reunions
August 23, 2013

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North Korea and South Korea have formally agreed to again allow reunions of families who have been divided since the Korean War.

The number taking part will not be significant. Only 100 people from each country will be allowed to meet their relatives in person. The reunions will take place from September 25 to September 30 at the Diamond Mountain resort, which is in southeastern North Korea.

The two governments, which met at the border village of Panmunjom for a daylong negotiation, also agreed to allow two days of online family reunions. Members of 40 families will be able to see and talk to their family members on October 22 and October 23.

South Korea will determine its 100 people from a lottery. About 73,000 South Koreans, half of whom are more than 80 years old, are on a waiting list to meet relatives across the border. North Korea has not announced how it will determine its allotment.

The reunions are a step toward greater communication between the two countries, which have still not formally agreed that the war that divided their shared peninsula for three long years has ended. A truce is in place, and a heavily guarded Demilitarized Zone still divides the two countries. Communication between the normal population of the two countries is forbidden.

In addition to the war-created family split, tens of thousands of North Koreans have fled to the South in the past couple of decades, leaving their families behind.

Reunions across the border have taken place 18 times before, between 1985 and 2010. The two governments suspended the program in the wake of worsening relations. Each country has had a new leader since then: Kim Jong-Un in the North and Park Geun-hey in the South.

 

 

 

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