Separated Korean families bid tearful farewell after reunion

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Seoul, Aug 22 (IANS) Hundreds of South and North Koreans on Wednesday bid a tearful farewell following their first temporary reunion after decades of separation due to the 1950-53 Korean War.

Eighty nine elderly South Koreans crossed the heavily fortified border into the North to join the family reunions held for three days which concluded on Wednesday, reports Yonhap News Agency.

They met 185 people from North Korea found alive in the impoverished country on six occasions, which gave them a combined 12 hours of face time. They held their last farewell meeting on Wednesday and ate lunch before leaving for the South in buses.

The reunions marked the first of their kind since October 2015. They were a follow-up on an agreement between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reached in an April summit to address growing humanitarian issues arising from war-torn family separations.

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A second round of family reunions is also scheduled from Friday through Sunday. A total of 83 North Korean people will reunite with their families living in the North.

More than 300 South Koreans will travel to Mount Kumgang for that event.

There are about 57,000 South Koreans wishing to reunite with their family members who might be living in the North.

Before this week’s reunions, the two Koreas had held 20 rounds of such events since their first inter-Korean summit in 2000.

–IANS

ksk/bg

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