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North and South Korea meet again for talks on reuniting families

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 September 14.
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 September 14.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The reunions could be scrapped if a location is not agreed on
  • Families have been divided for nearly 60 years
  • Only 200 of the thousands of split families were reunited in last event
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(CNN) -- North and South Korean representatives on Friday met for talks for a second time on reuniting families separated by the Korean War nearly 60 years ago.

They met in the North Korean border town of Kaesong. No further details were immediately available about Friday's talks.

The representatives had previously agreed to hold the reunions on October 21-27, but had not agreed on a location, which could scrap the gatherings.

They also had not agreed on how many families to include in the reunion, the South Korean Unification Ministry said on September 17.

Why are the two Koreas so hostile?

Millions of families were separated by the Korean War, which ended in 1953 with a cease-fire, but without a 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.