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Sunday, 14 April, 2002, 06:48 GMT 07:48 UK
Koreas to resume family reunions
A North Korean man cries and embraces his South Korean mother
The reunions are emotional occasions
South and North Korea have agreed to revive reunions of divided families, following last week's decision to resume contacts between the two countries.

South and North Korean soldiers at border
World's most heavily armed border separates the two countries
Under the agreement, 100 South Koreans will visit the North for three days from 28 April, and 100 North Koreans will make the opposite journey in the following three days.

The agreement to hold a fourth round of reunions came at the inter-Korean Red Cross contact on Saturday, and followed talks earlier this month between North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and South Korean presidential envoy Lim Dong-won.

The planned exchange - initially scheduled for October last year - was called off by North Korea amid growing tensions between the two neighbours after the 11 September attacks on the United States.

'Technically at war'

North Korea agreed to accept the delegation from the South at the Kumgang mountain resort, which will be inspected by South Korean Red Cross officials next week.

Korean accord
Resumption of family reunions
Talks on economic co-operation
Work on cross-border railway

The venue in the South is still undecided, and the two sides will hold further talks to work out details.

The two Koreas have staged three family reunions for 300 people from each country since an agreement reached at a historic summit between their leaders in 2000.

In a separate development, South Korea said 24 North Koreans had arrived in the South after fleeing their famine-stricken country.

It said the defectors included workers, students and a teacher who had made their way to the South through third countries. No further information was released.

The latest defections brought the number of North Koreans to have reached the South this year to 238. Last year, a record 583 people defected.

South Korea usually refers to North Korean escapees as defectors, because the two counties remain technically at war as the 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | Asia-Pacific
Koreas agree new family reunions
08 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
S Korean leader hails North accord
12 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
N Korea postpones family reunions
18 Sep 01 | Asia-Pacific
Koreas agree to family reunions
06 Jun 01 | Asia-Pacific
S Korea calls for new summit
05 Jul 00 | Asia-Pacific
Korea family reunion lottery
11 Apr 02 | Asia-Pacific
US envoy may visit North Korea
22 Feb 01 | Asia-Pacific
N Korea threatens end to missile deal
13 Oct 00 | Asia-Pacific
Kim Dae-jung: Korean peacemaker
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