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North, South Korea Reach Agreement on Family Reunions


Red Cross envoys from North and South Korea agree to hold reunions for separated families. Thousands of Koreans have been divided from loved ones since the Korean War in the early 1950s.

After three days of talks, Red Cross officials from South and North Korea agree to resume reunions for separated families.

The reunions will take place from September 28 until October 1, just ahead of the Korean thanksgiving holiday of Chuseok. They'll be held at the Mount Kumgang Resort in North Korea.

Millions of families were separated following the division of the Korean peninsula in 1945 and the 1950-53 Korean War. A landmark inter-Korean summit in 2000 paved the way Koreans to reunite with relatives in temporary reunions. The reunions were held annually but suspended in 2008 when the ROK's President Lee Myung-bak took office with a hardline policy toward Pyongyang.

While today's agreement marks a milestone in inter-Korean relations, the South Korean delegation admits that it didn't get everything it wanted in the negotiations.

Kim Young Chul, head of Seoul's delegation says they will bring up the issue of South Korean prisoners of war and citizens kidnapped by North Korea during future talks on family reunions.

Seoul had originally hoped to include these people in the upcoming round of reunions.

North Korea had proposed to resume the family gatherings earlier this month. Pyongyang also wants to restart joint tourism ventures to Mount Kumgang and to the historic city of Kaesong, which were both shut down last year.

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