Koreas wrap up week-long family reunion event

Seoul, Oct 26 (IANS) South and North Koreas on Monday wrapped up a week-long reunion event for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hundreds of South Koreans, who travelled to North Korea’s scenic Mount Kumgang resort to meet their relatives, had a two-hour farewell meeting from 9.30 a.m. (local time) on Monday, ending the second stage of the three-day reunion event, Xinhua news agency reported.

The first round of the October 20-26 reunion was wrapped up on Thursday, which was agreed between the two Koreas in late August when top-level military officials met to defuse military tensions on the Korean Peninsula that had been put in danger of an armed conflict.

On Saturday when the second round of the event began, South Korea’s navy vessels fired warning shots at a North Korean patrol boat accusing Pyongyang of violating the maritime border.

North Korea described the incident as “provocative” and harshly criticised the shelling.

Most of the participants, largely in their 80s and 90s, sobbed and wept during the farewell meeting as they knew that it would be the last chance to see and hear from each other.

No direct exchange of letters and telephone call has been allowed since the Korean conflict ended with an armistice in 1953.

Only 12 hours were given to the participants through six sessions, including lunch and dinner gatherings in public and one private face-to-face time.

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