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North Korea Stops Family Reunions
September 21, 2013

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North Korea has nixed a plan to reunite hundreds of family members separated by the Demilitarized Zone for decades.

North Korea and South Korea had agreed in August to give up to 100 people from each country permission to meet September 25–30 at the North's Diamond Mountain resort in what was sure to be an emotional reunion. Some families have remained separated since the end of the Korean War, in 1953. Other families have been separated by intentional distance, as some people have fled the North for the South in the decades since the war, in search of employment and safety.

No statement was forthcoming from North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-Un. The announcement of the postponement of the reunions came from North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, along with a statement protesting the recent arrest of a North Korean lawmaker charged with urging a violent reunification of the two Koreas.

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

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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