Korean Peninsula A to Z


Family Reunions begin

Hot Issues of the Week2018-08-26


Hundreds of South and North Koreans were given the opportunity to meet their long lost kin this week, after decades of separation.

The family reunions which began Monday were held at North Korea’s Mount Geumgang resort amid the recent reconciliatory mood between the two Koreas.

The first group consisted of eighty-nine South Koreans and about 180 of their long-separated loved ones living in North Korea.

The families were given twelve hours to meet with each other, over the course of three days. As part of the reunion the participants were allowed to have a private lunch session in their hotel rooms.

The second round of reunions was held at the same venue from Friday to Sunday. Eighty-one North Koreans met 326 family members from the South.

There were concerns about whether the second round would have to be relocated or rescheduled as Typhoon Soulik was expected to hit the peninsula, but with the typhoon moving away from the nation earlier than expected, the reunions went ahead as scheduled.

After returning from North Korea, South Koreans such as Kim Gwang-ho expressed hope for more opportunities to connect with families.

I think there should be something done about there being nothing after the reunion. Many people would want that. The family reunion should not be a one-time event, it should be regularized. An official from the Red Cross also said that he would try to make it possible for us to exchange letters, during his opening remarks. Adding to that, I think a video call would be helpful. Also, there are so many people waiting to meet their family, so the size of the reunion should be expanded.

This week's family reunions came nearly three years after the last such event was held in October 2015 and followed the agreement reached by the leaders of South and North Korea during the April inter-Korean summit to address humanitarian issues arising from nearly seven decades of division caused by the Korean War.

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