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Amid uncertainties, Koreas prepare for upcoming family reunions

Updated: 2014-02-07 PM 9:59:48 (KST)
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With less than two weeks left until the reunions for families separated since the Korean War, 64 South Korean officials crossed the border on Friday morning to check the facilities at the reunion site in the North.
The engineers will make sure that the electricity and communication lines at the Mount Kumgang resort are up and running well in time for the reunions.
The two Koreas confirmed that 85 South Koreans and 94 North Koreans will take part in the event.
South Korea's Unification Ministry explained that some family members selected last year are unable to make the trip this time, as they have passed away or have fallen sick.
Millions of Koreans were separated from their families during the Korean War more than six decades ago.
Around 70-thousand South Koreans, most of whom are now in their 80s, are on a waiting list to see their loved ones one last time.
But will the reunions take place from February 20th to the 25th as planned?
Just a day after the Koreas agreed to resume the reunions, North Korea called on the South to halt an upcoming annual military drill with the United States and threatened to reconsider the agreement.
The reunion dates coincide with Seoul and Washington's Key Resolve exercises, which begin in the last week of February every year.
South Korea said that the annual military exercises are purely defensive in nature and reiterated that it would deal with the North's objections to the drills separately from the family reunions.
North Korea has a history of pulling the plug on such meetings in the past.
Just last September, Pyongyang canceled a round of family reunions just four days before the event, disappointing hundreds of people on both sides of the border.
If held, it would have been the first reunion event since 2010.
Hwang Sung-hee, Arirang News.

[LEAD OUT]

President Park Geun-hye also echoed the sentiment of NOT causing any more sorrow for the families separated by the Korean War.
She urged North Korea to refrain from canceling the upcoming reunions but said the South should remain on full alert for any possible provocations from the North.


Reporter : ssung86@arirang.co.kr

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