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Seoul pushes for video reunions of separated families around Lunar New Year's

North Korea 11:46 January 14, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is in talks with North Korea to set up video reunions for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War as early as possible, at least by next month's Lunar New Year's Day holiday, the unification ministry said Monday.

President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed at their third summit in Pyongyang in September to cooperate in allowing separated families to hold video reunions and exchange video messages with their long-lost loved ones.

"We are pushing to (hold the reunions) around a traditional holiday," Baik Tae-hyun, the ministry's spokesperson, told a regular press briefing, apparently referring to Seol, the Korean word for the Lunar New Year's holiday, which falls on Feb. 5 this year.

Seol is one of the country's two biggest traditional holidays, along with Chuseok, the equivalent of Thanksgiving in the United States.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon also said last month that such video reunions can kick off early this year.

"Considering the urgency of the separated families issue, we will try to promptly push for (the reunions)," Baik said, adding that consultations with the North and the international community are under way.

Since the first-ever summit of their leaders in 2000, the Koreas have held 21 rounds of face-to-face family reunion events, including the most recent one in August.

In this file photo, taken Nov. 29, 2018, two women view photos at an observatory in the South Korean border city of Paju as they visit an exhibition on records of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. (Yonhap)


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