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About 23,000 video letters remain undelivered to separated families in N. Korea

All News 07:00 October 01, 2020

SEOUL, Oct. 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean separated family members have produced more than 23,000 video messages to send to their long-lost relatives in North Korea over the past 15 years, but almost all of them have not been delivered, a government report showed Thursday.

According to the unification ministry report recently submitted to the National Assembly, a total of 23,072 "video letters" have been produced since 2005, but only 20 families were chosen to send them on CDs and videotapes to the North after inter-Korean Red Cross talks in 2008.

The two Koreas held their last face-to-face reunions of separated families in 2018, but no more reunions have been held ever since. Little progress has been made either on video reunions or exchanges of video letters.

South Korea has sought to hold video reunions and secured relevant sanctions exemptions on equipment to be sent to the North last year, but the plan has not come through amid frayed inter-Korean relations.

Tens of thousands of people have not been able to see their long-lost families in the North since the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce. More than 80 percent of those who have applied for family reunions are in their 70s or older, according to government data.

Ryang Cha-ok (L), 82, of North Korea meets with her South Korean sisters at a hotel at North Korea's Kumgang Mountain resort on the east coast as part of inter-Korean family reunions on Aug. 24, 2018. 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)


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