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FRI, 2014-10-31  KST

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Joint South Korea-U.S. military drill to begin amid second round of family reunions

Updated: 2014-02-24 06:29:15 KST
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There were more heart-wrenching and highly emotional scenes Sunday as families looked back and forth at the faces and the aged pictures of their long-lost fathers and brothers separated since the Korean War.
The second round of tearful reunions that have been under way since last week began Sunday at North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort.
Families currently living in the U.S. and Canada came all the way to the separated peninsula, in the hope of meeting their lost families.
This time, 88 North Koreans had requested to meet 3-hundred-57 South Korean relatives.
Most of the family members from the North were initially living in the South before they were taken by volunteer troops, when the Korean War broke out.
Families in the southern part of the peninsula said they even held memorial services for their family members who did not return home.
Just like the first round, participants from both sides of the border are scheduled to meet six separate times for a total of 11 hours.
The much-anticipated reunion went ahead,despite growing tensions about Seoul and Washington's joint military drills that begin Monday.
The annual joint "Key Resolve" and "Foal Eagle" drills have once again drawn fierce criticism from the North.
However, a South Korean military official says the drills will be held in a "low-key" manner considering the ongoing reunions.
The North's state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper quoted a North Korean official at the UN Charter meeting last week as saying the U.S. was the main culprit for proceeding with the military exercise.
Experts say that, following the reunion event, Pyongyang will likely suggest reviving trade and investment between the two Koreas and ask for humanitarian aid from Seoul.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.


Reporter : ashin@arirang.co.kr

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