- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 9, 2003

SEOUL, South Korea, Feb. 9 (UPI) — North and South Korea Sunday exchanged information on the whereabouts of some 400 people separated from their families by the Korean War and scheduled for reunion Feb. 20.

"We (the South Korean) located 188 South Korean relatives among the 200 whose North Korea families want to meet, while the North side informed us of 136 North Koreans vice versa," the (South) Korean National Red Cross told the Yonhap news agency.

Two hundred people from either side of the Korean border are scheduled to meet their families Feb. 20. The reunion is the sixth in a series undertaken between the two countries under President Kim Dae-jung's sunshine policy.

The Red Cross said according to the North's data, 136 family members were confirmed dead or alive. Of the 136, 31 are dead and one declined to attend. The remaining 104 are possible candidates for the reunion.

The two sides had on Jan. 26 exchanged the names of 200 people who had been selected as candidates for three days of reunions at North Korea's Mt. Kumgang. Each side will choose 100 people Monday and exchange lists the following day.

Millions of Koreans were separated from their families following the 1950-53 Korean War. The two countries are technically at war since the 1950-53 Korean War ended without a peace treaty.

Sunday's development comes amid the nuclear standoff between Pyongyang and the United States.

North Korea Sunday said Washington's attempts to beef up its forces in the western Pacific were the prelude to an attack on it.

"This arms buildup eloquently proves that though they pretend to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, they are, in actuality, keen to stifle the DPRK by force," the official Korean Central News Agency said. The country's official name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

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