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Family reunions to go into high gear at year's end

Posted September. 29, 2000 20:41,   


The two Koreas were reported Friday to have arrived at a broad agreement on resolving the question of divided families across the board at the third round of Red Cross talks scheduled for December. At that time, matters related to the determination of the fate and whereabouts of the displaced persons, the exchange of mail and the establishment of a permanent meeting station for separated relatives should be sorted out, sources here said. The two sides agreed to carry out the pilot projects of identifying 100 persons each in September and October and allowing 300 persons to begin correspondence across the border in November as planned in the second round of Red Cross talks. They reportedly concurred on the need to hammer out measures to expand these programs.

These accords were reached at the second round of the third ministerial talks followed by personal contact between the chief delegates and supplementary conversations among working-level officials.

The representatives of the two Koreas also agreed that Supreme People's Assembly president Kim Yong-Nam of the North will visit Seoul and Jeju Island and that a task force of vice-ministerial level, comparable to the Joint Economic Committee, would be formed. South and North Korea also decided that inter-Korean goodwill soccer matches should take place alternately in Seoul and Pyongyang around Liberation Day (Aug. 15) next year.

Their revival will lead to the regular exchange of soccer teams between the two zones. Another related agreement called for cooperation to facilitate the homecomings of Korean expatriates in foreign countries to both the South and the North and exchange visits of college students and people in the academic and artistic fields.

The Northern delegation returns to Pyongyang by way of Seoul and Beijing, China. A courtesy call on the President at his executive mansion appeared unlikely at this time.