North, South Korea begin second round of tearful family reunions amid efforts to shore up ties

South Korea wants to expand the family reunions, but experts say North Korea is reluctant to do so

The Associated Press August 24, 2018 20:25:52 IST
North, South Korea begin second round of tearful family reunions amid efforts to shore up ties

Seoul: Elderly North and South Koreans wept and embraced each other on Friday at the beginning of a second round of temporary reunions of family members separated for decades by the Korean War.

More than 300 South Koreans travelled to the North's Diamond Mountain resort for three days of meetings with their long-lost relatives. Earlier this week, about 200 other South Koreans went to the scenic resort for similar reunions.

During the meetings on Friday, Kang Jong Hwa, an 85-year-old North Korean woman wearing a traditional hanbok dress, sobbed while touching the face of her 100-year-old sister from South Korea. "I cannot believe this," Kang said.

North South Korea begin second round of tearful family reunions amid efforts to shore up ties

South Korean Pi Eun-ae, 75, right, holds a hand with her North Korean sister Pi Sun Ae, 86, as photos of their family members are displayed on the table during the Separated Family Reunion Meeting. AP

Two silver-haired brothers in their 80s also wept while surrounded by other relatives, while others asked each other about their lives in a rush of emotions.

"Thank you for being alive," Wu Ki-ju, a 79-year-old South Korean woman, said after seeing her 86-year-old North Korean sister in a wheelchair.

Participants in the latest reunions are to part again on Sunday, likely for good.

The two Koreas occasionally allow elderly people to reunite with loved ones on the other side of the border, but none has been given a second chance to meet.

The previous family reunions were in 2015.

The separated families are a bitter reminder of the division of the Koreas, which were once a single country.

The Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

South Korea wants to expand the family reunions, but experts say North Korea is reluctant to do so because of worries that increasing their frequency will loosen its authoritarian control and cause it to relinquish a coveted bargaining chip in negotiations with the South.

This week's reunions were arranged as the rival Koreas take various steps aimed at improving ties amid diplomatic efforts to end the stalemate over North Korea's nuclear program.

Updated Date:

Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.

also read

Lee Kun-Hee dies at 78: Chairman of Samsung Electronics transformed company into global tech giant
World

Lee Kun-Hee dies at 78: Chairman of Samsung Electronics transformed company into global tech giant

Lee inherited control from his father in 1987 and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions, and memory chips

Donald Trump says Sudan to be removed from terror list if it fulfills $335 million compensation pledge
World

Donald Trump says Sudan to be removed from terror list if it fulfills $335 million compensation pledge

Sudan has agreed to pay compensation for victims of the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, attacks conducted by Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network while he was living in Sudan

BTS’ comments on Korean War leads to backlash among China's social media users
Entertainment

BTS’ comments on Korean War leads to backlash among China's social media users

Following BTS' comments on the Korean War at a recent event, advertisements of brands including Samsung, Fila, and Hyundai that featured the boy band have reportedly disappeared from several Chinese websites.