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South Korea unification minister vows support for separated families

By
Yonhap News Agency
Families whose hometowns are in North Korea jointly hold a ceremony celebrating the Chuseok holiday in Imjingak in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone separating two Koreas, on Monday. Photo by Yonhap
Families whose hometowns are in North Korea jointly hold a ceremony celebrating the Chuseok holiday in Imjingak in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone separating two Koreas, on Monday. Photo by Yonhap

SEOUL, Sept. 24 (UPI) -- South Korea's unification minister said Monday the government will increase efforts to reconnect families separated for decades since the Korean War in various ways in the follow-up negotiations with North Korea.

Cho Myung-gyon was speaking to a group of divided families who jointly celebrated the Chuseok holiday at Imjingak park in Paju, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas.

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"For both South and North Korea, the problem of divided families is an urgent task that can't be delayed," Cho said in an address. "The scene of [divided families] exchanging their addresses and wishing for each other's health in the recent reunion event touched people's hearts. We will make all efforts to help them keep their promise of seeing each other again."

Cho said the government will seek various ways to check if separated relatives are still living, allow them to visit their hometowns and pay tribute to their ancestors' graves in the follow-up meetings with the North.

Last month, Seoul and Pyongyang resumed their joint events to reunite separated families in the Mount Kumgang resort on the North Korean eastern coast for the first time in nearly three years.

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Still, tens of thousands remain separated from their family members since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce.

During their third summit last week, the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to make joint efforts to declare a formal end to the war by the end of this year.

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