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S. Koreans to visit NK this week to repair facilities for family reunions

2015/09/23 11:22

SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Yonhap) -- The Unification Ministry said Wednesday a team of technicians plans to visit North Korea this week to repair facilities at Mount Kumgang for the upcoming reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War.

A group of 30-40 people, including government officials and technicians, will cross the inter-Korean border on Thursday for a two-day visit in preparation of the family reunions slated for Oct. 20-26.

"The repair work will be launched before the Chuseok fall harvest holiday. Visiting technicians plan to complete the work by Oct. 14," ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-hee said at a regular press briefing. The Chuseok holiday falls on Sunday.

A smaller group of officials and technicians visited the North last week to check the facilities.

Jeong said that the outcome of the recent checks showed that there will be no major problems in proceeding with the reunions, but there are some things that need fixed.

Facilities at Mount Kumgang on the North's east coast have been often used as the venue for the family reunions, including the latest in February 2014.

But they have not been used often as Seoul suspended an inter-Korean tourism project at the mountain in 2008 following the deadly shooting of a South Korean tourist by a North Korean solider at the resort.

Despite the two Koreas' recent landmark deal to ease military tensions, there is still uncertainty over the feasibility of the reunions as the North has threatened to launch a long-range rocket and conduct a fourth nuclear test.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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