Seoul, Pyongyang Red Cross officials to discuss missing POWs

Red Cross organizations from the divided Koreas will meet to discuss South Korean prisoners of war still held in the North since the 1950-53 war.

Dozens of South Korean POWs from the Korean War have escaped, but at least 500 others are believed to be in captivity. Efforts to bring the soldiers home have made little progress because Pyongyang denies holding any.

During high-level meetings between the Koreas in June, Seoul and Pyongyang agreed to discuss the fate of missing POWs at Red Cross talks set to take place Aug. 23-25 at the North's Diamond Mountain tourist resort, Unification Ministry spokeswoman Yang Jeong-hwa is quoted as saying by the AP.

The South and North will also discuss expanding reunions for separated families via video links. Forty Korean families will reunite through video linkups Monday, part of joint celebrations of the 60th anniversary of Korea's liberation from colonial Japan.

The Korean War ended in a truce, not in a peace treaty. The border between the two Koreas is sealed with barbed-wire fences, mine fields and nearly 2 million troops on both sides.

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