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Two Koreas end first family reunion in over three years

English.news.cn   2014-02-25 17:07:31

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday ended the reunion of families separated by the Korean War, held first in more than three years in the DPRK's Mount Kumgang resort.

Hundreds of South Koreans returned Tuesday afternoon by bus to a resort hotel in South Korea's east coastal city of Sokcho, where they left for the mountain resort in the DPRK's southeast coast, according to Seoul's Unification Ministry.

A group of 357 elderly South Koreans met their long-lost relatives from the DPRK in the Mount Kumgang resort for three days through Tuesday, after the first group of 82 South Korean applicants ended their three-day reunion event last Saturday.

Hundreds of Koreans met their family members separated by the three-year war for 11 hours in total during their three-day stay in the mountain resort. A tearful scene was caused when the separated families held the last day's one-hour gathering before parting with each other once again.

According to the government data, more than 70,000 South Koreans have been on the waiting list for the family reunion since 1988, with all the applicants expected to pass away within 20 years from now due to their old age.

The family reunion is an urgent, humanitarian issue on the Korean Peninsula considering millions of Koreans have been separated since the Korean War ended in armistice in 1953, which banned exchange of letters and phone calls.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye said in a televised press conference marking the first anniversary of her inauguration that she will launch a preparatory committee for the reunification with the DPRK under the direct control of her, vowing to expand civilian exchanges with the northern neighbor.

Related:

S. Korea says DPRK patrol ship violates disputed inter-Korean maritime border

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- A patrol ship from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) sailed south in western waters, violating the disputed inter-Korean maritime border Monday night when annual war games between Seoul and Washington began, the South Korean Defense Ministry said Tuesday.

Defense Ministry spokesman Kim Min-seok told a press briefing that a DPRK patrol vessel violated the Northern Limit Line (NLL) three times from 10:56 p.m. local time Monday and sailed in waters 13 nautical miles (23.4 km) west of South Korea's Yeonpyeong Island. Full story

S.Korea to prepare for reunification with DPRK

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Tuesday that she will set up a presidential advisory body to prepare for reunification with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Park made the remarks at her press conference marking the first anniversary of her inauguration at the presidential office of Cheong Wa Dae. Full story

Editor: chengyang
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