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Korea reunions: 'rules of engagement'

Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 01:40

As South Koreans prepare for reunions with relatives in the North, a do-and-don't guide book raises misgivings among some. Paul Chapman reports.

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EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Eighty-six-year-old Ahn Yoon-joon felt lucky to be among those picked for reunions with relatives in North Korea. It'll be the first time in more than 60 years he'll have seen his two younger sister. But the arrival of a Red Cross guidebook of do's and don'ts has taken some of the shine off it. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) 86-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN AHN YOON-JOON SAYING: "Is it worth even holding the reunions? What do they expect by gagging people like this? Are we only supposed to listen? What's the use?" Among the guidebook's contents is advice like: "It's not good to keep asking questions that may make North Korean family members feel uncomfortable or not want to answer." It adds to that: "Keep in mind especially that political comments against the North Korean leadership or economic conditions can trouble family members." Kim Woo-jong is 87 now. He fled the North during the Korean war leaving behind his mother and sister to join the South as a military public information officer. He says he's worried about what he should and shouldn't say, especially in the light of his past. (SOUNDBITE)(Korean) 87-YEAR-OLD SOUTH KOREAN KIM WOO-JONG SAYING: "My history looks bad to North Koreans but my sister is taking the risk to meet me before we die. We won't be able to meet again. She took the chance to come out to meet me." A total of 90 South Koreans were selected by computer lottery to take part in the latest round of reunions towards the end of October. The two sides are still technically at war because the Korean conflict ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty.

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Korea reunions: 'rules of engagement'

Sunday, October 18, 2015 - 01:40