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3 years ago

S. Korean families gather in Sokcho on Sunday to prepare for family reunions

Arirang News
Arirang News
Starting tomorrow, South and North Korea will be holding reunions for families separated by the Korean War.
This is the first time they've held reunions in three years, and they'll take place for a full week at North Korea's Mount Kumgang.
The South Koreans who'll be attending are gathering today in the northeastern city of Sokcho... from where they'll cross the land border and head up north.
Our unification ministry correspondent, Oh Jung-hee, is on the ground in Sokcho and she joins us now.
Jung-hee, what are we expecting to happen today?

Devin, you're absolutely right.
South Korean families due to meet their relatives in North Korea will start gathering here, at Hanwha Resorts in the city of Sokcho, two hours from now.
But it's already a buzz here with both South Korean and foreign press getting film of the atmosphere one day ahead of the first family reunions in three years.
Throughout the day, families will be registering themselves as participants.
They'll be told about the do's and don'ts while they're in the North,... and medical staff will be checking once again on their health... since all the participants are of an advanced age.
They'll spend the night here and cross the military demarcation line tomorrow morning... through the eastern inter-Korean transit office located in the nearby city of Goseong.

There are 89 South Korean participants, but we're expecting hundreds of people to come... because each participant gets to take a relative with them. Plus there are many more who'll want to come and see them off.
Bear in mind, most participants are in their 80s and 90s and may have difficulty moving, so the South Korean government is putting extra effort into providing the best conditions for their health and safety.
It was originally 93 South Korean participants making their way up north, but we've already seen four of them drop out because of health concerns,... so the authorities are keen to keep the number of participants as it is now at 89, and hold the reunions successfully.
By the way, the oldest South Korean participant in this round of reunions is 101 years old.

So, soon we'll be able to see the families and hear from them directly -- how they are feeling ahead of their first face-to-face meeting with their relatives in the North... after 70 years of separation and no contact.
I'll be bringing you more in our next newscast. Devin.
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