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S. Korean participants leave for DPRK for family reunion

English.news.cn   2014-02-20 08:47:15
SOUTH KOREA-SOKCHO-FAMILY REUNION
An elderly South Korean (front) prepares to get on a bus and head for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to meet her long-lost relatives in the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, at Sokcho, South Korea, Feb. 20, 2014. Accompanied by 58 family members, 82 elderly South Koreans, four fifth of them older than 80, departed as of 8 a.m. local time from a resort hotel in the South Korean east coastal city of Sokcho to reunite with their long-lost families, or 178 people from the DPRK, for the first time in six decades. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

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SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- More than 100 South Koreans headed for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Thursday morning to meet their long-lost relatives in the DPRK's scenic resort of Mount Kumgang, Seoul's Unification Ministry said.

Accompanied by 58 family members, 82 elderly South Koreans, four fifth of them older than 80, departed as of 8 a.m. local time from a resort hotel in the South Korean east coastal city of Sokcho, where they received medical check-up and training on the dos and don'ts while staying in the DPRK the previous day.

The South Korean participants, who were already picked by lottery last year, will go there to the reunion venue by bus on the inter-Korean road along the east coast, scheduled to arrive in the Diamond Mountain Hotel at around 1 p.m.

In preparations for emergency, 12 medical staffs and an ambulance car accompanied them.

The elderly South Koreans will reunite with their long-lost families, or 178 people from the DPRK, for the first time in six decades.

Millions of Koreans have never met their families since the three-year Korean War ended with armistice in 1953. Since then, people in the two Koreas have been banned from exchanging phone calls and letters.

The first group meeting will run for two hours from 3 p.m., and the welcoming dinner will be hosted by the DPRK for another two hours from 7 p.m.

The next day, three meetings will be held, including individual meeting, group lunch and group meeting for two hours respectively.

On the last day of the brief reunion, the war-divided families will have a one-hour meeting to bid farewell to their relatives, an expected tearful scene, before returning back to the Sokcho resort via the inter-Korean road at about 4 p.m.

Under the same schedules, the second stage of three-day reunion event will be held from Sunday in the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort.

At the first stage, 82 South Korean applicants will reunite with 178 family members from the DPRK, while 88 DPRK applicants will meet 372 family members from the South during the second stage that will run for three days to Tuesday.

Related:

News Analysis: Family reunion, first step toward peace on Korean Peninsula

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- A secluded resort hotel, located inside the mountains in South Korea's east coastal city of Sokcho, was unusually crowded with gray-haired old men and women, among whom some leaned upon sticks and some were wheelchair-bound.

Family reunion participants, four fifth of whom in their 80s and 90s, jammed the hotel lobby Wednesday afternoon to confirm their identification. They were accompanied by family members, surrounded by photographers and TV cameras shooting the rare, unusual scene. Full story

Editor: chengyang
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