Two Koreas begin discussions on resuming family reunions
Red Cross officials from South and North Korea are currently at the truce village of Panmunjom to discuss the issue of resuming reunions for families separated since the Korean War.
For more details, we are going to connect live to our Unification Ministry correspondent Hwang Sung-hee . Sung-hee, what's latest?
Officials from the two Koreas have been locked in negotiations since 10 a.m. on this Friday and all we know for now is that North Korea has presented a revised version of its draft proposal.
An official at the unification ministry said the two Koreas have agreed on the idea of holding face-to-face reunions as well as video reunions for the separated families and that the talks are being conducted in a calm and amicable atmosphere.
Opening the talks, Seoul also proposed the idea of holding reunions on a regular basis as well as allowing family members to exchange letters, although they are first focusing on making the reunions happen.
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.
Could you go over some of the issues to be discussed at today's meeting?
The officials will start with technical things, like the date, location and the scale of the reunion.
For now, Seoul is aiming to hold the reunions some time 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, do keep us updated throughout the day.
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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