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Gov't to offer separated families VR tours of hometowns in N. Korea

All News 10:41 September 06, 2020

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- South Korea is working on a project to create virtual reality (VR) content to offer families, torn apart by the 1950-53 Korean War, virtual journeys back to their hometowns in North Korea, officials said Sunday.

Commissioned by the unification ministry, the Korean Red Cross is carrying out the project aimed at allowing separated families to virtually experience journeys from South Korea to their hometowns in the North and visit their neighbors by using cutting-edge graphics and videos, officials said.

"As the separated families are aging rapidly and there are not enough opportunities for reunions, we decided to push ahead with this project using cutting-edge technology to offer them consolation," a unification ministry official said.

The first VR content will be about the hometown of Hyun Mi, a 83-year-old singer who was popular in the 1960s. She was born in Pyongyang in 1937, and the scenes of her village and residents will be created virtually based on her memory, officials said.

The content will be completed by the end of this month, officials said.

After launching its pilot program this year, the ministry aims to further develop the program in the long term by including more North Korean regions in the program and allowing citizens to participate.

Kang Doo-ri (R), 87, of South Korea meets her North Korean sister Kang Ho-rye, 89, at a hotel at North Korea's Kumgang Mountain resort on the east coast on Aug. 24, 2018, as part of inter-Korean family reunions. The inter-Korean reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War was the first of its kind in nearly three years. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

julesyi@yna.co.kr
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