Koreas begin talks for family reunions

Seoul, Sep 7 (IANS) South Korea and North Korea on Monday began working-level Red Cross talks for reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

“The dialogue was set to kick off at 10 a.m. (local time) in the border truce village of Panmunjom,” Xinhua quoted an official at Seoul’s unification ministry in charge of inter-Korean affairs as saying.

Three South Korean delegates already headed for Panmunjom said they will make best efforts to meet expectations for the separated families.

Talks for the reunion came after top military officials of the two Koreas agreed in late August to defuse tensions caused by the exchange of fire and landmine blast.

During the meeting, the two sides were expected to focus mainly on discussions about the timing, the venue and the size of the upcoming reunion event, which was forecast to be held in early October given the necessary time for preparations.

South Korean has called for regularly holding the reunion event, exchanging the list of separated families who are alive and allowing the families to exchange letters.

Since the Korean War ended with an armistice in 1953, the two Koreas has technically remained in a state of war and the exchange of letters and telephone calls have been banned.

Almost half of about 130,000 South Koreans, who had applied for a reunion since 1988, passed away without a chance to meet their long-lost relatives.

The latest family reunion event was held in February 2014, the first in more than three years.

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