Delegations from South and North Korea are meeting to discuss the
resumption of family reunions. Thousands of families remain separated
by the political division of the Korean peninsula.
dispatched a delegation Wednesday morning to the Mount Kumgang resort
in North Korea. There they will meet with representatives from
Pyongyang to discuss the resumption of family reunions, overseen by the
Korean Red Cross.
Kim Young-chol, the head of Seoul's
representatives, says Kim says his team will try to ensure that during
the next round of reunions as many elderly South Koreans as possible
will have the opportunity to meet with their separated relatives.
Earlier this month, North Korea proposed resuming the reunions.
last time families from the divided Koreas met was in 2007. The
communist North called off reunions in response to what it considers
South Korean President Lee Myung Bak's hard-line policy. Mr. Lee has
pushed North Korea to fulfill its pledges to end its nuclear program
and had scaled back aid to the impoverished country.
recent weeks, the Kim Jong Il government in the North has offered a
series of good will gestures to both South Korea and the United States.
Last Friday, it sent representatives to honor former South Korean
President Kim Dae-Jung, who died a few days earlier.
2000, the Korean Red Cross has conducted 16 face-to-face family
reunions and several via video conference. They estimate that 600,000 South Koreans have relatives in North Korea. Most are elderly
and these reunions may be the only chance for many to see long-lost
Since fighting in the Korean War halted in 1953,
there have been no telephone or postal links between separated
families. The two nations remain technically at war, since only an
armistice was signed at the end of the conflict.
will meet until the end of this week. Tentatively, the two countries
hope to hold a reunion in the beginning of October, when Koreans
celebrate the thanksgiving holiday of Chuseok.