World Bulletin / News Desk
South and North Korea appear to remain set for family reunions next month, despite Pyongyang's state media threatening to cancel the event.
According to Seoul's Unification Ministry, the neighbors on Wednesday shared the results of their attempts to verify the availability of hundreds of relatives on either side of the heavily guarded inter-Korean border, which citizens from both sides need permission to cross.
Earlier this month, Seoul asked Pyongyang to check on 250 family members after an initial computer lottery, while the North supplied a list of 200 people it believes are living in the South.
Official data shows that over 132,000 South Koreans in total have registered their desire to meet relatives in the North, but only around 57,000 of them are still alive as the Korean Peninsula was divided after World War II and the so-called Demilitarized Zone separating the countries was established in 1953.
Final lists of 100 relatives from either side are expected to be confirmed by Aug. 4, before the planned reunion event from Aug. 20-26 at North Korea's Mt. Kumgang resort, as agreed during April's inter-Korean summit.
But the event, which would be the first of its kind in nearly three years, was placed in doubt last week by media outlets, including the North's state-controlled website Uriminzokkiri.
The propaganda platform warned that the scheduled reunions might not happen unless Seoul resolves the issue of a dozen North Korean restaurant workers based in the South since 2016.
Pyongyang has accused South Korea of kidnapping the group, while a UN rapporteur called this month for an independent investigation.