Family reunions on divided peninsula to resume
SEOUL Reunions of families separated since the Korean War will resume in August, as part of the fast-moving engagement between two Koreas, Red Cross envoys said yesterday after meetings in North Korea.
The reunions will take place over six days beginning on August 20, the first such event since 2015 to bring together families divided for nearly seven decades.
About 100 people from each side will take part in the gatherings on North Korea’s Mt Kumgang, a resort about 15km north of the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea.
Setting a clear plan for the reunions had been a priority of the government of South Korea’s president, Moon Jae-in. He accompanied his mother to a past reunion in 2004, when he was serving in a previous government that sought engagement with North Korea.
But a joint statement by national Red Cross delegations from North and South Korea did not touch on other sensitive issues that have complicated family reunion attempts in recent years.
They include North Korea’s demand for the return of 12 North Korean restaurant workers who left China in 2016 and resettled in South Korea. Seoul claims the women willingly defected. South Korea, meanwhile, seeks the return of six people detained in the North.
Nearly 20,000 people have taken part in 20 rounds of reunions held between the countries since 2000, but plans have been shelved in recent years by the South to protest nuclear and missile tests by the regime of Kim Jong Un. Washington Post
South Korean Jo Soon-jeon, 83, right, looks at family photos with her North Korean sisters during a reunion in 2015. North and South Korean officials are working out the details for another reunion.