Saturday, October 30, 2010

97 separated families from two Koreas meet in the North

Hundreds of South Koreans met their relatives in North Korea, after arriving at the North’s mountain resort on Saturday for a long-awaited reunion with family members and relatives they haven't seen for some 60 years after a war and national division separated them, Yonhap News Agency reported.

The 97 families, or more than 430 people who ranged from 12 to 96 in age, had registered their names Friday at makeshift Red Cross offices set up at South Korea's resort in Sokcho, Gangwon Province, 213 kilometers east of Seoul on the coast.

The registration coincided with the firing of two shots across the central part of the Demilitarized Zone between the two, which has remained technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce instead of a peace treaty.

No one was killed or injured in the incident that stoked already high tension between the two Koreas. The North has threatened war for any aggression by the South since Seoul condemned Pyongyang in May for the deadly sinking of its warship.

The families were relieved that the reunions would go ahead as scheduled despite the firing.

Following the Saturday-Monday reunions, the first such event in a year, another batch of about 100 families will be reunited from Wednesday-Friday at the Mount Geumgang resort in the North. South Korean applicants for reunions will join the second round.

The two Koreas have held 17 face-to-face reunion events for family members who have been separated by the Korean War since 2000 when they held their first-ever summit, briefly reuniting about 17,100 people from 3,500 families, according to the Unification Ministry in Seoul. 

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