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S. Korea to conduct survey on separated families

All News 11:41 June 11, 2018

SEOUL, June 11 (Yonhap) -- South Korea plans to conduct a survey on surviving families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in preparation for a family reunion event that the two Koreas recently agreed to hold in mid-August, the unification ministry said Monday.

The ministry said that it will carry out the survey from Monday until Aug. 10, checking about 57,000 registered surviving families to see if they are stay alive and see if they are willing to join such an event if it is held as planned.

It will also ask them whether they plan to deliver video messages for their families living in the North.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed in a historic summit on April 27 to hold a reunion of separated families on the occasion of the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

To arrange the promised family reunions, the two Koreas are set to have a Red Cross meeting on June 22. If held, the reunion event would mark the first of its kind since October 2015.

South Korea had proposed holding family reunions, but the North had been lukewarm about the idea, calling on the Seoul government to return its restaurant workers who defected from China to the South in 2016 as a precondition.

Based on the survey and applicants for the reunion, the South is expected to seek to confirm the survival of their family members and relatives in the North.

The latest data showed that the number of separated families registered in South Korea stood at 132,124 as of end-May, of which 56,890 people are still alive.

In a survey the ministry conducted in 2016, 74.7 percent of the separated families in the South could not confirm whether their families and relatives in the North remained alive.

The two Koreas are technically in a state of war as the Korean War ended only with an armistice.


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