Thursday, October 22, 2015

Event for Families Separated by the Korean War

Korean families divided 
By the Korean War 
Reunite in the North Korea

The two Korea remain technically at war 
as the Korean War only ended in an armistice

The reunions are taking place at a resort on Mount Kumgang in North Korea 

Hundreds of South Koreans have begun meeting family members in the North Korea in a rare reunion event for families separated by the Korean War.

South Korean Jung-sook Lee wipes tears
from her North Korean father's face
during the farewell session
The reunion, comprising a series of meetings over a week, is being held at a Mount Kumgang resort, at the border.

Thousands of families have been apart with little or no contact since the war ended in 1953.

Reunions have been held sporadically since 1988 and depend on the state of relations between the two countries.

The last reunion was held in February 2014.

This year's meeting comes after an agreement in August that de-escalated tensions sparked by a border explosion that injured South Korean soldiers.

* Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War * Korean War *  
Stephen Evans, BBC News, Seoul
Lee Taek-gu is 89 years old and he will meet his sister who is 20 years younger. He last saw her when she was a tiny girl and he a young man who got on a boat to flee south, thinking he would come back after the war.
Since then, he has been writing letters to his parents knowing he would never send them because there is no postal service between the two halves of Korea. He wrote them as therapy for his grief.
He told the BBC he would simply thank his sister for being alive. They would talk about their parents who are now dead. He has got his best jacket cleaned and spruced up for the occasion and bought a smart new hat.
The human drama of Korean family reunions
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Some of those at the reunion saw family members
for the first time in more than 50 years
The meetings, organised by the Red Cross, are hugely popular with tens of thousands signing up, but few on each side get chosen and they tend to be elderly.

In South Korea participants are picked at random by a computer which takes into account their age and family background.

They also have to sit for interviews and take medical examinations to determine if they are fit to travel.

The first group of about 400 South Koreans, comprising of chosen participants and their accompanying family members, are taking part in the first round of meetings running from Tuesday to Thursday, reported Yonhap news agency.

North Korean Kyong Muk Sin, 82, gets a cheerful lift
from his Southern relative Wu-il Jeong
Another 250 will attend the second round of meetings from Saturday to next Monday. Each round comprises of six two-hour sessions.

Many of those attending from South Korea are bringing gifts for their North Korean relatives such as clothes, food, toothpaste, and cash.

The two Korea remain technically at war as the Korean War only ended in an armistice.

The family reunions began in 2000 and have since been carried out sporadically.

But they depend hugely on the state of relations, and the North is known to have cancelled a few at moments of tension. The last was held in February 2014.

Event for Families Separated
by the Korean War
from BBC News

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