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S. Korea to conduct survey on surviving separated families

All News 10:50 January 25, 2016

SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to survey surviving families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War for the first time in five years to better prepare for family reunions, government officials said Monday.

In March, the government will launch a three-month research project on 65,000 separated family members to ask whether they are willing to meet their relatives living in North Korea, according to the Unification Ministry.

There are about 130,000 separated family members on a waiting list for family reunions. About half of them have passed away.

Under relevant laws, the government should conduct a survey of separated families every five years to check whether they are alive and intend to meet their kin in the North.

The two Koreas held reunions for about 100 separated family members from each side at Mount Kumgang in the North in late October, the first event since February 2014.

Seoul has been pushing for holding such family reunions on a regular basis, to which the North has shown a lukewarm response. The North's latest nuclear test is dimming the outlook for additional family events, analysts say.

South Korea's Red Cross made video messages of about 10,000 separated family members to possibly be delivered to their relatives in North Korea late last year. But whether they can be delivered remains uncertain due to the strained inter-Korean ties.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr
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