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INTRO: The reunion of 200 members of separated 
Korean families continued for a second day 
Wednesday.  Participants met privately after 
emotionally draining group reunions the day 
before. As correspondent Amy Bickers reports from 
Seoul, the South Korean government says it wants 
to find ways for reunited family members to 
maintain contact after the event ends on Friday.
TEXT:  Korean families taking part in the reunion 
spent more time getting reacquainted Wednesday. 
They met in their hotel rooms where they 
exchanged gifts and looked at family photos.  
They told each other of births, deaths, marriages 
and other family milestones that had taken place 
during 50 years of silence, when the Cold War on 
the Korean Peninsula made any contact impossible.
South Koreans gave their northern relatives gifts 
of clothing, watches, basic medicines and other 
necessities - hoping that these items would be 
useful in their impoverished homeland.  Some 
South Koreans gave family members hard currency 
as well.  Family heirlooms, including jewelry, 
were also exchanged.
The reunions, which are taking place in Seoul and 
Pyongyang, are tightly controlled in both 
countries. South Korean families with a North 
Korean relative visiting them are only permitted 
to have five family members present at reunion 
events. The North Koreans are staying at a 
separate hotel from their South Korean family 
members. They are not allowed to visit their 
parents' tombs, a solemn obligation here.
The families will meet only a few more times 
before the North Koreans leave Friday. 
Arrangements are similar in Pyongyang.
The last reunion between long-separated Korean 
families took place in 1985. Since then, those 
relatives have been unable to contact each other. 
The South Korean government says it hopes that it 
can find ways for family members to stay in touch 
after this reunion ends.
A presidential spokesman said Wednesday that the 
government is hoping to establish special family 
meeting points and some kind of a postal system 
between the two Koreas, which remain technically 
at war and have no communication links for 
private citizens. He also said the government 
would like to set up a facility for South Koreans 
to send money to their relatives in the North.
The reunions are the most tangible result of the 
first ever inter-Korean summit two months ago, 
when North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and South 
Korean President Kim Dae-jung signed a joint 
declaration pledging to work toward peaceful 
reunification. (Signed)
16-Aug-2000 08:17 AM EDT (16-Aug-2000 1217 UTC)
Source: Voice of America

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