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(LEAD) Koreas exchange lists of candidate families ahead of reunions

All News 18:39 July 03, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more details in paras 7-9)

SEOUL, July 3 (Yonhap) -- South and North Korea exchanged the lists of people wishing to meet their families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in a bid to confirm whether their loved ones are alive and able to join reunions next month, a Red Cross official here said Tuesday.

South and North Korea held Red Cross talks last month and agreed to hold family reunions from Aug. 20-26. They will be held at a Mount Kumgang resort on the North's east coast, involving 100 families from each side.

South Korea's Red Cross delivered to the North earlier in the day the list of 250 people wishing to meet their families who might be living in the North, according to the official.

They were chosen in light of their state of health and willingness to reunite with their families in the North from the 500 candidates randomly selected by a computer.

The North also sent a list of 200 people seeking to reunite with their separated families in the South, the official said.

The lists include detailed personal information on the candidates by which a process will be carried out to confirm whether their loved ones are alive on the other side and willing to join the reunions.

The oldest South Korean applicant is a 101-year-old man, while a 93-year-old North Korean woman is the oldest divided family member, according to South Korea's unification ministry.

Those aged between 80 and 89 accounted for 40.4 percent of the South Korean candidates, followed by those aged over 90 with 33.2 percent and those aged between 70 and 79 with 17.6 percent, it added.

For North Korea, those aged between 80 and 89 came in at 62 percent, followed by those aged between 70 and 79 with 33.5 percent and those aged over 90 with 4 percent.

The two Koreas plan to share the outcome of the verification efforts by July 25 and exchange their finalized lists of 100 people who will participate in the reunions.

The upcoming event will be the first of its kind since October 2015. The two Koreas have held 20 rounds of face-to-face family reunions since the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000.

According to data, the registered number of South Koreans wishing to meet their families or relatives in the North stood at 132,124 as of the end of May, of which only about 57,000 remain alive. Most of them are in their 70s and older.

The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty.


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