Saturday, September 26, 2009

Mount Geumgang Family Show

Selected families separated during the 1950-53 Korean War will meet starting today at the Mount Geumgang resort just north of the border on the eastern coast.

Coming nearly two years after the last round of inter-Korean family reunions, the six-day event will allow 545 South Koreans to meet with 339 relatives from the North, the Unification Ministry said.

Ninety-six South Koreans - nine in their 90s, 52 in their 80s, 32 in their 70s and four aged below 70 - underwent an orientation and health checkups at Sokcho yesterday.

They will be accompanied by South Korean Red Cross president Yoo Chong-ha to Mount Geumgang to meet with 240 family members from the North over the weekend through Monday.

Yoo's North Korean counterpart Chang Jae-un will lead the North Korean group.

Another 99 North Koreans will meet with 449 family members from the South from Tuesday through Thursday, just before the Chuseok holidays.


By Kim So-hyun

Reunions of separated Korean families continue for 2nd day

Hundreds of separated South and North Korean families were given private sessions to share stories among themselves Sunday, the second day of the government-arranged reunions, which came after two years as one of the most visible reconciliatory steps between the neighboring nations, according to Yonhap News.
Ninety-seven South Koreans traveled across the Demilitarized Zone the previous day to meet relatives from whom they had been separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, at the Mount Kumgang resort on North Korea's east coast, according to pool reports. More than three-quarters of the participants were 70 or older.

The families will separate again Monday after their brief three-day reunion. During the second segment of the event, which will begin Tuesday at the same venue, 99 North Koreans will reunite with 449 relatives living in the South.

About 600,000 people in the South are believed to have family in the North. The first round of cross-border reunions was held in 1985, and they had become a semi-regular event since 2000 after a historic inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang. They were halted in 2007 as inter-Korean ties began to fray.

The reunions this time came as a result of a dramatic agreement last month between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and Hyun Jeong-eun, chairwoman of South Korea's Hyundai Group -- a major investor in the cash-strapped nation.

They are also a highlight of the North's recent good-will gestures, which included the easing of cross-border traffic to and from a South Korean-run industrial park in Kaesong, North Korea.

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