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North, South Korean Families Separated by War to Hold Reunions

SEOUL -- North and South Korea agreed on Wednesday to allow some families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War to hold brief reunions, despite a campaign by Pyongyang that Seoul cancel planned war games with the United States.

Any kind of agreement between the two rivals is rare, and in the past unpredictable North Korea has withdrawn permission for the event at the last minute.

A meeting of officials from North and South Korea agreed the reunions will take place on February 20 to 25 in Mount Kumgang, just north of the border, South Korea's Unification Ministry said. At previous reunions, about 100 families have been allowed to meet relatives on the other side for fleeting moments before they are sent back to their respective homes.

Officially North Korea has not linked the reunions with its demand for the cancellation of the annual military exercises by the U.S. and South Korean militaries scheduled to begin this month.

But officials in the South say the intention is clear, and that Seoul will not fall in line.

Reuters