North, South Korea agree to resume family reunions

September 09, 2015 10:17
Kim Song-Yun (right) of South Korea embraces her sister Kim Seok-Ryo (L) of North Korea during a reunion of families divided by war at the Mount Kumgang resort on Feb. 20, 2014.  Photo: AFP/Yonhap

North and South Korea agreed to hold a reunion of families separated by the war for the first time in more than a year.

The deal builds on an agreement to improve ties that ended an exchange of threats in August, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Representatives from the two countries agreed that 100 people from each side would be allowed to meet from Oct. 20 to 26 at the Mount Kumgang resort just north of the border, South Korea said Tuesday following overnight talks.

North Korea’s state media confirmed the event in a brief statement.

The gathering would be the first since February of last year and only the second in five years.

Relations deteriorated to a military standoff last month, after a land mine explosion in South Korea escalated into threats of artillery shelling from both sides. A deal struck to end that confrontation included family reunions.

Pyongyang is "eyeing a much bigger prize, which is the lifting of economic sanctions” imposed by Seoul in 2010 after two deadly attacks, said Go Myung-hyun, a North Korea analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, a Seoul-based think-tank.

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