South Korean group gathers for reunion

Seoul, Oct 23 (IANS) The second group of South Koreans, selected to participate in the reunion event with families from North Korea, gathered in Sokcho city on Friday to prepare for the meeting over the weekend.

The first stage of reunion for families, separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, ended on Thursday after a three-day programme, including six meetings allowed two hours each following more than six decades of separation, Xinhua news agency reported.

For the second round, which will run from Saturday to Monday at North Korea’s scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, a total of 255 South Koreans from 90 families are scheduled to meet their 188 relatives.

The participants, mostly in their 80s and 90s, would receive medical check-ups and education on dos and don’ts to be observed while in North Korean territory.

They would spend the night in a Sokcho resort, before heading for the reunion venue in the North on Saturday morning.

As with the first stage, the South Koreans will be given 12 hours of time with their North Korean relatives, who they have never seen since the Korean War ended with armistice in 1953.

Since the war, no civilian exchange of letters and telephone calls has been allowed between people of the two Koreas.

The humanitarian event was agreed between the two Koreas in late August when top-level military officials met to defuse tensions on the Korean peninsula which had been put in danger of an armed conflict.

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