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North, South Korea to hold family reunion in October

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North, South Korea to hold family reunion in October
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Seoul: North and South Korea agreed on Tuesday to hold a reunion in October for families separated by the Korean War, following all-night talks between their respective Red Cross branches.

The reunion -- only the second to be held in five years -- will take place between October 20-26 in North Korea's Mount Kumgang resort, the South's Unification Ministry said.

Seoul was understood to have been pushing for an earlier date -- before North Korea celebrates the 70th anniversary of the founding of its ruling Worker's Party on October 10.

Pyongyang is planning a massive military parade and there has been speculation it might also launch a long-range rocket -- a move that would trigger fresh UN sanctions and threaten the holding of the reunion.

The Red Cross talks began Monday morning in the border truce village of Panmunjom and, according to the South's Unification Ministry, ran through the night with only occasional breaks.

The chief South Korean delegate, Lee Duk-Haeng, confirmed that his side had requested a reunion at the "earliest possible date", but the North side demurred, citing preparations for the October 10 celebrations.

According to the agreement, 100 people will be selected by each side to take part in the week-long event.

The effort to organise a reunion was the product of an accord the two Koreas reached two weeks ago to end a dangerous military standoff and reduce cross-border tensions.

Pyongyang has already accused Seoul of spinning the settlement as a North Korean climbdown, and warned that it would tear up the entire deal -- including the family reunion -- if the South continued making "wild remarks".

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