Koreas begin discussions on resuming family reunions
Officials from the two Koreas are at this hour settling down to discuss the issue of resuming reunions for families separated since the Korean War.
For more, let's go live to our unification ministry correspondent Hwang Sung-hee.
Sung-hee, what's the latest?
Mark, officials from the two sides are probably just getting started with their talks as the meeting was scheduled to kick off just a couple of minutes ago. at 10 a.m.
Departing for Panmunjom this morning, the South Korean chief delegate said his delegation will do their best to reduce the pains of the divided families.
Noting that the Red Cross working-level talks between the two Koreas are taking place for the first time in three years, the official said the issue of separated families is one of the most urgent issues.
Thousands of Korean families were left separated since the Korean War in the 1950s and the unification ministry estimates that 80 percent of the 73-thousand registered separated family members in the South are over the age of 70.
The last round of reunions took place in October 2010.
What are some of the issues to be discussed at today's meeting?
We are expecting the officials to start with technical things, like the date, location and the scale of the reunion.
For now, Seoul is aiming to hold the reunions sometime around the middle of next month to coincide with Chuseok, the Korean Thanksgiving holiday as mentioned by President Park Geun-hye in her Liberation Day speech.
Some possible locations for the meeting are Mount Geumgang, Seoul and Pyongyang although the most likely venue is Mount Geumgang, as proposed by North Korea earlier this week.
This is where the last round of reunions took place.
The unification ministry said it will put a priority on reuniting as many aging family members as possible, so we are expecting the reunion to be much larger than the previous ones, which included some 1-hundred family members from each side.
The two sides are not expected to bring up the issue of restarting South Korean tours to Mount Geumgang at today's meeting.
North Korea proposed yesterday to meet for separate talks on the issue later this month or at the beginning of September.
We are still waiting for Seoul's answer to the North's proposal.
Thank you, Sung-hee.
That was our unification ministry correspondant Hwang Sung-hee with the latest on the inter-Korean talks for resuming family reunions.
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