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Tears as Korean families reunite for first time in decades.

Hundreds of North and South Korean relatives – many now wheelchair-bound and in the twilight of their lives – met for the first time Monday since being driven apart more than six decades ago by the Korean War. Tears were flowing at the emotional reunion between roughly 330 South Koreans, spanning 89 families, and 185...
Time: 10:54     Date: 20.08.2018
Last US News: Tears as Korean families reunite for first time in decades. NY Post 24 - US News

Tears were flowing at the emotional reunion between roughly 330 South Koreans, spanning 89 families, and 185 of their long-lost family members from the neighboring North.

“How are you so old?” 92-year-old Kim Dal-in asked his sister, Yu Dok, after looking at her in silence.

“I’ve lived this long to meet you,” the 85-year-old replied, as she clutched a photo of her brother from when he was younger.

Dressed in the traditional Korean hanbok dress, siblings Kim Gyong Sil, 72, and Gyong Yong, 71, anxiously awaited their 99-year-old mother Han Shin-ja.

For minutes after they reunited, the trio cried loudly and rubbed their cheeks with their hands.

“When I fled home in the war…“ were the only words Han, overcome with emotion, could utter.

The heart-wrenching reunions, part of three-day event, are the result of an agreement reached in April between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The Korean families were torn apart by political strife that ravaged the peninsula following the end of the 1950-53 war — which concluded with a truce rather than a peace treaty — and the North’s ramped-up nuclear program.

About 132,600 Koreans were listed as separated from their families by the end of July. Of the 57,000 survivors, just over 41 percent are in their 80s and 21 percent are in their 90s.

The oldest is 101-year-old Baek Seong-gyu, of South Korea, who was reunited Monday with his daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Some families have tried to come together before.

Lee Jong-shik, 81, finally tracked down his younger brother Ri Chong Song — but only after a heartbreaking meeting with the wrong person in 2009.

“I tried so hard, too, searching for you for seven years,” Ri told his brother.

Reunion events between the two countries began in 1985. Monday’s event included the families of a prisoner of war and five people abducted by North Korean authorities during the conflict – though six South Koreans they had hoped to meet had died.

Ninety-three families from both sides of the border were initially set to meet this time around but four South Korean members canceled at the last minute because of poor health, the Red Cross said.

Moon, himself a member of a separated family from the North’s eastern port city of Hungnam, said the reunion meetings should happen more regularly and include exchanges of visits and letters.

“It is a shame for both governments that many of the families have passed away without knowing whether their lost relatives were alive,” he told presidential secretaries at a meeting. “Expanding and accelerating family reunions is a top priority.”

With Post wires

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