NATIONAL

Korea soon to begin work to open permanent family meeting

By Yonhap
  • Published : Sept 20, 2018 - 14:14
  • Updated : Sept 20, 2018 - 14:14

South Korea will soon begin work necessary to open a permanent meeting facility in the North for regular reunions of separated families, a government official said Thursday.

The leaders of the two Koreas agreed Wednesday to open a permanent meeting facility at Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast "at an early date." 

"Discussions on details will be held soon," the official said on condition of anonymity. "I understand that repairs will be necessary for a building that will be used for the meeting facility."


(Yonhap)

In 2008, South Korea built a 12-story building at Mount Kumgang equipped with a meeting hall and about 200 rooms that could accommodate up to 1,000 people.

The building has not been fully furnished and left almost unused since October 2015. It was partly repaired prior to the latest family reunions the two Koreas held last month.

South Korea set aside 33.6 billion won for next year to support family reunions and carry out repair work for the facility.

There are about 57,000 South Koreans wishing to reunite with their North Korean families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

Since their first inter-Korean summit in 2000, the two Koreas have held 21 rounds of such events, mostly involving about 100 families from each side.

The Seoul government is seeking to hold family reunions on a regular basis.

South and North Korea technically remain at war as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. (Yonhap)