Reunion Venue for Separated Korean War Families Needs Overhaul

Ben Cho, June 29, 2018, 8:13 a.m.

North Korean facilities to host the planned August reunions of separated families during the 1950-1953 Korean War are in need of major repairs, a South Korean inspection team said upon returning home on Friday after a three-day visit there. The 20-strong inspection team involving South Korean government officials and civilian workers crossed the eastern border on Wednesday afternoon to visit Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast, the venue for the reunions slated for Aug. 20-26.

"South and North technicians did the inspection together, which went smoothly with active support from North Korean officials," said team leader Kim Byung-dae, a senior official in charge of humanitarian cooperation at the Unification Ministry.

"It's been quite a while since the last reunion happened in October 2015 there. So there are many places that need fixing," Kim said, adding the government will do its best to make sure the reunion runs smoothly and to minimize any inconvenience for senior family members.

On Friday, Red Cross officials of the two Koreas agreed to hold the reunions in line with the April 27 cross-border summit agreement. The reunions will involve 100 families from each side. The two Koreas are scheduled to exchange their final lists of participants by Aug. 4.

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