Korean families part ways after brief reunion

Seoul, Oct 22 (IANS) The first group of Korean families who were torn apart by the 1950-53 war, after a brief reunion, parted ways once again on Thursday.

About 390 South Korean travelled to a South Korean-developed resort in Mount Kumgang along the North’s east coast on Tuesday for the three-day reunion, Yonhap News Agency reported.

A second group of 250 South Koreans will be at the resort from Saturday to Monday.

“Stay healthy! Live long!” 85-year-old Lee Sun-kyu from the South told her once husband Oh In-se, who lives in the North. She was bidding farewell to him after a series of brief meetings that lasted just a total of 12 hours.

She was among hundreds of Koreans granted a rare chance to meet their long-lost families living on the other part of the heavily-fortified border for the first time in more than six decades.

It marked the first inter-Korean family reunion event in a year and eight months, a result of the August 25 deal between the two Koreas that ended a military standoff.

Such family reunion events began in 2000, riding on the accomplishment of the first inter-Korean summit. Twenty face-to-face family reunion events have been held so far, as well as seven video conference reunions.

Nearly 130,000 South Koreans are registered in the government’s database as having family in the North, split by the 1950-53 Korean War. Half of them have already died and around 66,000 others still hope for reunions with their relatives in the North.

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