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(LEAD) Repair workers visit N. Korea to prepare for reunions of separated families

All News 10:44 July 09, 2018

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more info)

SEOUL, July 9 (Yonhap) -- A group of government officials and repair workers visited North Korea on Monday to repair facilities in preparation for the upcoming reunions of war-separated families, the unification ministry said Monday.

The 22-member team crossed into the North at around 9 a.m. via the eastern land border to begin repair on facilities at a Mount Kumgang resort where reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War will be held next month.

The work will be carried out until mid-August based on the results of an on-site inspection by experts during a three-day trip to the venue late last month, the ministry said.

The team is led by a unification ministry official handling family reunions. It also includes officials from the Red Cross and Hyundai Asan, a firm that spearheaded now-suspended joint tour program for Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast.

They will either stay there or take turns making short trips to the venue depending on repair progress, the ministry said.

The two Koreas agreed last month to hold family reunions on Aug. 20-26 involving 100 families from each side. They are currently choosing who will be invited to the event with an aim to finalize the list by Aug. 4.

The reunion event marks 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.

South and North Korea technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty.


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