Two Koreas to discuss reunion of separated family members

SEOUL, June 21 (UPI) — South Korea will discuss organizing a North-South family reunion of those separated in the Korean War with the North on Friday.

President of the Korean Red Cross Park Kyung-seo said the issue of family reunion will be the priority agenda in the meeting, to reporters before he departed to a border town on the east coast on Thursday, Yonhap reported. Park leads the South Korean delegation, which consists of officials of the Korean Red Cross and the Ministry of Unification.

“As agreed in the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration, the North and South will hold a family reunion around August 15,” said Park in a Newsis report. August 15 marks Korea’s independence from the 1910-1945 Japanese colonial and is widely celebrated both in the North and South.

Expectations have also been raised whether the North and South would discuss releasing six South Koreans detained in the North.

Earlier this month, Unification Minister Cho Myung-gyun said the North and South discussed the issue of the six detainees and the North is reviewing the matter internally.

Park, however, said that it won’t be the priority in the meeting.

The last family reunion was held in 2015 at a resort in the North’s scenic Mount Kumgang.

A total of 131,896 people have been registered as separated family members as of April 30, according to a government figure. More than 55 percent of them have passed away and more than half of those still alive are 80 years old or above.