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S. Korea launches process to confirm whether N. Koreans' families remain alive

All Headlines 14:26 July 04, 2018

SEOUL, July 4 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has launched a process to confirm whether the families that North Korean people are trying to find are alive as the two prepare for temporary reunions of war-separated families, a Red Cross official said Wednesday.

Earlier, the two Koreas exchanged the lists of people who want to reunite with their family member on the other side. North Korea sent a list of 200 people, along with information on those individuals and the families they are searching for.

"We have started a process to confirm whether their families are alive in the South," a Red Cross official said. "It will likely take time as many North Koreans are searching for multiple family members and relatives here."

South and North Korea agreed last month 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.

The two Koreas plan to share the outcome of their respective confirmation efforts by July 25 and then pick 100 families each to be invited to the reunions by Aug. 4.

The separated family issue has emerged as one of the most urgent humanitarian challenges confronting the two Koreas, as many of those seeking to see their long-lost families are elderly.

Of the North Korean people, 62 percent were in their 80s. The registered number of separated families in the South stands at around 132,000, of which only about 57,000 remain alive.

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

kokobj@yna.co.kr
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