North Korea and South Korea meet on family reunions
North Korea and South Korea have begun talks on resuming the reunions of families separated by the Korean War in 1950-53.
Korean Red Cross officials met at the border village of Panmunjom in an attempt to restart the reunions last held in October 2010.
The two sides remain technically at war because the conflict ended in an armistice and not a peace deal.
The talks come as the two countries last week reached a deal on a joint industrial zone.
Many families were separated at the end of the war by the dividing of the peninsula.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye last week called for the resumption of the reunions, urging North Korea to “open its heart”.
The aim is for some of them to meet during a festival holiday in September.
However, the two sides have yet to agree on the venue, size and date of the possible reunions.
In South Korea, than 70,000 people have registered for the reunions.
Kim Kyung-ryun said that she had been trying for decades to reunite with her parents and siblings in the North.
“So many reunions have passed, and I’ve never been picked,” she said.
“So I wonder whether my chance will ever come, and I’m just a bit too tired to worry about it now.”
The current talks are the latest signs of tensions easing on the peninsula.
In April, North Korea withdrew its workers from the Kaesong joint industrial zone, angered by the expansion of UN sanctions after its February 12 nuclear test and annual US-South Korea military drills.
The deal reached last week came after six rounds of talks ended unsuccessfully.
Meanwhile, it was reported that a North Korean man apparently defected after he was found on South Korea’s Gyodong Island.
It was not immediately known how he had crossed the border in stormy weather. South Korean officials said he was now being questioned.
Defections by crossing the border via land and sea is said to be rare, and most are made by North Koreans entering another country before going to South Korea.
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