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Yonhap – S. Korea to spend 800 mln won to conduct surveys on separated families

SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) — The South Korean government decided Thursday to spend 800 million won (US$728,000) to conduct surveys on families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War in a bid to check the state of surviving families and hear their needs.

On Thursday, a civilian-government committee on inter-Korean exchanges made the decision to conduct surveys on around 50,000 members of separated families living in the country from April to October.

Through the survey, the third of its kind since 2011, the ministry will update information on the separated families and check their demands and opinions on inter-Korean reunions.

Tens of thousands of people remain separated from their long-lost families in the North since the Korean War, which ended in a truce.

The two Koreas held their last reunion of war-separated families in August 2018 at the Mount Kumgang resort on the North’s east coast but no reunions have since been held amid strained ties.

The committee has also decided to spend 4.77 billion won to transform the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), separating South and North Korea, into a cultural zone. The two-year project aims to utilize facilities in the inter-Korean transit office near the border village and Dorasan Station, the northernmost train stop in the country, to remodel them for cross-border cultural exchanges.

The ministry will also spend 3.34 billion won for an ongoing project on the publication of a common Korean-language dictionary that began in 2005 as part of efforts to overcome language barriers between the two Koreas.

The committee has approved spending on other projects, including 1.92 billion won to cover the operating costs of a tourism support center at the truce village of Panmunjom and 3.75 billion won for the Center for Unified Korean Future, a state-run institution on unification-related education.

Ryang Cha-ok (L), 82, of North Korea meets with her South Korean sisters at a hotel at North Korea's Kumgang Mountain resort on the east coast as part of inter-Korean family reunions on Aug. 24, 2018. The inter-Korean reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War was the first of its kind in nearly three years. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

Ryang Cha-ok (L), 82, of North Korea meets with her South Korean sisters at a hotel at North Korea’s Kumgang Mountain resort on the east coast as part of inter-Korean family reunions on Aug. 24, 2018. The inter-Korean reunion of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War was the first of its kind in nearly three years. (Pool photo) (Yonhap)

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