Unification Ministry to Send Team to Repair Family Reunion Facilities

David Lee, Sept. 18, 2015, 8:52 a.m.

The Unification Ministry said Friday it plans to again send a team of technicians to North Korea soon to repair facilities at Mount Kumgang for the upcoming reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. A group of government officials and technicians returned to Seoul on Thursday from a two-day visit to the North after checking facilities there ahead of the family reunions slated for Oct. 20-26.

"The outcome of the recent checks showed that there will be no major problems in proceeding with the reunions," ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said at a regular press briefing. "But as there is something to be repaired, Seoul plans to send people to the North as soon as possible after consulting with North Korea."

Facilities at Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast have been often used as the venue for the family reunions, including the latest ones in February 2014. But they have not been used often as Seoul suspended an inter-Korean tourism project at the mountain in 2008 following the deadly shooting of a South Korean female tourist by a North Korean solider at the resort.

Despite the two Koreas' recent landmark deal on easing military tensions, there is still uncertainty over the feasibility of the reunions as the North has threatened to launch a long-range rocket and conduct a fourth nuclear test.

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