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North and South Korea discuss inviting Korean-Americans to family reunion

Wooyoung Lee

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SEOUL, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- North and South Korea are discussing inviting Korean-Americans to a family reunion to meet their separated family members in the North.

Seoul's unification ministry said at a press briefing on Wednesday that Korean-Americans who have separated family members in the North could be invited to attend a future family reunion event.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon reportedly discussed ways to make the reunion happen between Korean-Americans in the U.S. and their separated family members in the North when he met a high-ranking official of the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C. this month, according to Yonhap News.

Cho also said at a parliamentary audit last month that he formally requested to the North to include Korean-Americans in family reunions.

North and South Korea held a family reunion in August for the first time since 2015. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to hold family reunions at their summit in April.

The two Koreas agreed to make the family reunion more frequent as people separated from their family members during the 1950-53 Korean War are rapidly aging.

A total of 133,047 people has been registered as separated family members as of Oct. 31 in the South, according to a government figure. More than 62 percent are 80 years old or older.

The oldest attendee at the August reunion was a 101-year-old man from the South, who met his North Korean daughter-in-law and granddaughter.