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Koreas agree on October family reunion, location still undecided

By the CNN Wire Staff
Elderly South Koreans, who were separated from their families during the 1950-53 Korean War, hold a traditional ritual for their deceased relatives at Imjingak peace park in Paju in North Korea, near the inter-Korea border, on Tuesday.
Elderly South Koreans, who were separated from their families during the 1950-53 Korean War, hold a traditional ritual for their deceased relatives at Imjingak peace park in Paju in North Korea, near the inter-Korea border, on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: They do not agree on a place or how many families may participate
  • Millions of families were separated by the Korean War, which ended in 1953
  • About 10,000 people applied to reunite last year, but fewer than 200 families were chosen
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Seoul, South Korea (CNN) -- Representatives for North and South Korea agreed that October would be a good time to do another round of reunions for families separated by the Korean war, the South Korean Unification Ministry said Friday.

But both sides are still negotiating details such as where the reunion will be. If talks do not go well on where the reunions will be, the event could be canceled.

The two sides agreed to hold the reunions on October 21 to 27. They could not agree on how many families to include in the reunion, and where it should be held, the ministry said.

The North had proposed resuming the reunions, which traditionally happen around the Koreas' autumn harvest holiday. It falls on September 22 this year.

Two Red Cross officials and 14 delegates from South Korea crossed the armed border into North Korea on Friday morning to meet with counterparts, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Millions of families were separated by the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a cease-fire, but no formal peace treaty.

About 10,000 people applied to take part in a similar reunion last year, but fewer than 200 families were allowed to participate.

Family members wept as they saw one another for the first time in decades. No mail, telephone or e-mail exchanges exist between ordinary citizens across the Korean border.

Yoon Ki-Dal, 88, of South Korea thought such a moment would never come. After leaving his son and daughters when they were babies during the Korean War, he was able to hold the hands of his North Korean children last September.

"Father, we thought you were dead," his daughter, who was in her 60s, told him, her face trembling.

The families were allowed to spend a few days together before the South Koreans had to return home.

 
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