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Koreas Set Talks To Resume Cross-Border Family Reunions

Posted: August 18, 2013

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Next month the two sides will discuss possibly resuming the meetings between relatives from North and South who have been separated since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean Kim Jung-Man, right, bids farewell to his North Korean relative before they return to their respective homes on opposite sides of the border in November 2010.

South Korean Kim Jung-Man, right, bids farewell to his North Korean relative before they return to their respective homes on opposite sides of the border in November 2010. Pool

North Korea has agreed to talks with the South to resume cross-border reunions of families separated for decades by the most militarized border in the world.

On Sunday, a spokesman for the Pyongyang's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, said it had agreed to talks, hosted by the Red Cross, that are to take place on Sept. 19 at North Korea's Diamond Mountain resort.

In the past, temporary thaws in bilateral relations have allowed some families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War to meet briefly at the border.

But tensions that have accompanied the ascendency of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un stalled such meetings.

The North also shut down a joint industrial zone — one of the few areas of cooperation between the bitter rivals.

Last week, the Koreas agreed to work toward restarting the joint operation.

North Korea asked that discussion about resuming South Korean tours to its Diamond Mountain resort — another small area of cooperation — take place at a separate meeting. Those tours were suspended in 2008 when a South Korean woman was shot by a North Korean border guard after she reportedly wandered into a fenced-off military area.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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