Two Koreas gear up for first family reunions in three years

Two Koreas gear up for first family reunions in three years
Tearful North Koreans wave goodbye to their South Korean family members aboard a bus heading back to Seoul at Mount Geumgang on Nov. 5, 2010.

The two Koreas are quickening preparations for the first reunions of separated families in three years by exchanging the lists of participants and readying venues and equipment.

One hundred people from each side are scheduled to reunite with their loved ones at Mount Geumgangsan on Sep 25-30. The finalists are to be announced Monday by the Red Cross.

Nearly 100 South Korean engineers and workers are currently staying at the scenic mountain resort to carry out repairs and maintenance on facilities that have been idle since the last gathering in 2010.

But the two sides were at odds over lodging for South Koreans. Seoul proposed the Eoikumkang and Mount Kumkang hotels, which were also used in the two most recent events in 2009 and 2010, while Pyongyang offered Haekumkang Hotel and Hyundai Living Hall, citing existing reservations.

Seoul is sticking to its initial suggestion, saying only those two hotels are capable of accommodating all the South Korean delegates, as they have 384 rooms and a 740-person total capacity.

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