South, North Korea families reunite decades after war

Unified Koreas athletes center of attention at Asiad opener

With tears and cries, dozens of elderly and frail South and North Korean family members met on Monday for the first time since the peninsula, and their relationships, were torn apart by war almost 70 years ago.

From Friday to Sunday, 83 North Koreans will also be reunited with the families they have found alive in the South at the resort.

"Blood ties don't disappear, even after all this time", Soon-ok replied.

Before leaving for the meeting, Lee told AFP: "I never imagined this day would come".

"I share fully with the disappointment of those who are not selected so I am trying with North Korean partners to try and find other solutions, huge numbers are waiting, the numbers are very much limited", he said. "Let's live together even at least one minute after unification before we die", the woman said tearfully.

Reunion events between the two countries began in 1985.

Clasping one another, they tried to bridge the decades of separation through precious physical contact and by showing each other pictures of their relatives.

For many participants these reunions represent the first news they have had of their relatives in almost seven decades.

The oldest participant this year, Baik Sung-kyu, is 101, and will meet his daughter-in-law and granddaughter.

Only seven families are reuniting with their immediate family members, like parents and children.

The three-day reunion is the first for three years and follows a diplomatic thaw on the peninsula.


But on Monday, 92-year-old Lee Keum-seom of South Korea traveled across the border and got to meet and hug her son Sang Chol, now 71 himself. 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.

During the three years since the reunions were last held, the North tested three nuclear weapons and many missiles, some of which could potentially reach the continental United States. It was then framed for them so they could then take it to North Korea as a gift.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to restart the reunions at a summit with Moon in April.

Her son is now 71.

They cried loudly for several minutes, before finally settling into conversation.

On seeing him however, there was no hesitation, and the two elderly Koreans embraced each other tightly, both in tears. Agreeing that the two nations should be reunified, the younger man exclaimed: "American bastards should be expelled", adding: "Look, uncle, they are not carrying out the Singapore agreement". The ministry estimates there are now about 600,000 to 700,000 South Koreans with immediate or extended relatives in North Korea.

Ahn Seung-chun was headed to North Korea to see family members she's never met.

"What they told me was shaped by the communist regime", the 90-year-old said.

"It was hard to say goodbye. In fact, meeting them for that little moment made me miss them more ardently than before", she said in an interview.

More than 130,000 South Koreans have signed up for a reunion since the events began but majority have since died.

In a statement Monday, President Moon urged both Koreas to work towards more reunions in future, noting his own family history as the child of North Korean refugees.

Related News:

  • First human case of West Nile Virus reported in Wisconsin this year

    First human case of West Nile Virus reported in Wisconsin this year

    Apply an insect repellant with DEET, IR3535, picaridin, or oil of lemon eucalyptus to exposed skin and clothing. Of the 62 patients in North Dakota past year , the health department reported two deaths.
    Aretha celebrated at Sunday service at father's Baptist church

    Aretha celebrated at Sunday service at father's Baptist church

    Paul McCartney called Franklin an inspiration and "the Queen of our souls", while Diana Ross hailed her "wonderful golden spirit". She gave us secular, she gave us gospel, she gave us opera... and you don't find too many that can fit in every arena like that".
    New Zealand's Minister for Women cycles to hospital to give birth

    New Zealand's Minister for Women cycles to hospital to give birth

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern leaves hospital with her baby daughter, Niamh Te Aroha Ardern Gayford on June 21. The country's parliament is reportedly constructing a playground to improve facilities for the children of politicians.
  • PepsiCo buys SodaStream to reach consumers 'beyond the bottle'

    PepsiCo buys SodaStream to reach consumers 'beyond the bottle'

    Over the years, many users have used SodaStream only for making fizzy water, without the flavoured syrups it sells. PepsiCo chairman and chief executive Indra Nooyi described the companies as "an inspired match".
    Chelsea, Manchester United 'monitoring Aaron Ramsey situation'

    Chelsea, Manchester United 'monitoring Aaron Ramsey situation'

    Arsenal is confident that midfielder Aaron Ramsey will sign a new contract with the club despite interest from teams overseas . The Welshman couldn't move to China or join a Premier League rival immediately because transfer windows have closed.

    Winona Ryder says she's been married to Keanu Reeves for 25 YEARS

    Revisit the eternal bonding of the happily - if accidentally - wedded couple below. "The chemistry is really electric". Which leaves Keanu , as EW tells it, with one final thing to say: " Oh my gosh, we're married ".
  • David Haye Exclusive: Fury to set up cracking clash with Wilder

    David Haye Exclusive: Fury to set up cracking clash with Wilder

    Hopefully he won't be successful and we'll put on a show. "I want to win a world title again so I'll have to raise my game". Let's face it, he's not really fought anybody and he's had 40 fights'.
    United Kingdom  woman rescued after falling from cruise ship in Croatia

    United Kingdom woman rescued after falling from cruise ship in Croatia

    The unnamed woman, aged 46, tumbled from the Norwegian Star, which was sailing from the port of Vargarola near Pula, Croatia . A search was quickly launched and the Croatian Coast Guard patrol ship "Cavtat" and an airplane PC-9 were engaged.
    Son's Asian Games hopes rocked by minnows Malaysia

    Son's Asian Games hopes rocked by minnows Malaysia

    Malaysia's Rasid opened the scoring after just five minutes and he cannoned his second in off the post in first-half injury time. South Korea coach Kim Hak-bum admitted he made a tactical blunder by rotating his players too early in the tournament.
  • Mueller inquiry: White House lawyer McGahn co-operating with probe

    Mueller inquiry: White House lawyer McGahn co-operating with probe

    McGahn in at least three voluntary interviews with investigators that totalled 30 hours over the past nine months, described Mr. McGahn provided the facts but nothing he saw or heard amounts to obstruction of justice by Trump, the person told Reuters.

    Korean families separated by war reunite after 65 years

    Seoul's Unification Ministry reports that 75,000 of the 132,000 citizens who applied to attend a reunion have already died. More than 130,000 Southerners have signed up for a reunion since the events began but a lot of them have since died.
    Shots fired outside US Embassy in Turkey

    Shots fired outside US Embassy in Turkey

    Turkish officials, who are locked in a trade and diplomatic dispute with the United States, condemned the shooting in Ankara. Ankara accuses Gulen of having masterminded the July 2016 coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.


Most liked

Michael Jackson's Thriller is no longer the best-selling album of all time
This marks a return to the title of best-selling album of all time for The Eagles . Thriller , meanwhile, sits at 33x platinum since last being counted in 2017.

MTV Video Music Awards Bolster Security After Nicki Minaj Feud With Safaree
Minaj claims Spotify canceled a portion of advertising for her album's rollout after she played her music early on Apple's Beats1. Yep: that's Nicki Minaj claiming she had the real No.1 album in America, despite officially having the No.2 album in America.

More evidence that we’re getting new Apple Watches next month
That's because the model numbers for the upcoming Apple Watch Series 4 family have been found in an official regulatory filing. What's surprising about Apple's filings is that we're only looking at six model numbers instead of the expected eight.

How accurate is the preseason AP Top 25?
This also represents the 60th time that Oklahoma has appeared in the preseason AP poll, second most behind Ohio State (65 times). The AP Top 25 is determined by a simple points system based on how each voter ranks college football's best teams .

Nokia 6.1 gets a price cut, Nokia 6.1 Plus expected this week
All eyes are on HMD Global , as the Finnish company is expected to unveil a brand new smartphone on August 21. The phone features a 16MP+5MP vertically stacked dual rear camera and a front facing 16MP selfie camera.

Smoky skies, poor air from wildfires return to Northwest
Over the last week, all three Prairie provinces have been under special air quality statements for high smoke concentrations. For comparison, Beijing and Mumbai - two cities renowned for typically poor air quality - scored 47 and 50 respectively.

Netflix making a big change that'll interrupt binge watching marathons
Netflix didn't confirm how long this testing period would last, or the likelihood of these ads becoming a permanent thing. It's also unclear whether or not the adverts play in between episodes of non-Netflix original content.

Mark Ruffalo Really Did Spoil Infinity War
Avengers 4 is set to release in May 2018 and will be a conclusion to the world of the Avengers as fans know it. At first, Cheadle just had his head in his hands, still amazed that Ruffalo let something that big slip.

Nun's wonderful first pitch before White Sox game
A former college softball player, Sister Mary Jo has reportedly said that her fastball has been timed at 76 miles per hour . After leaving the mound and shaking Giolito's hand, Sobieck took in the cheers and pointed to the stands.

'Not an option': Musk defends relentless schedule as Tesla enters fateful week
He later said that meetings with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had given him confidence to announce the news. Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission sent the company a subpoena regarding the statement.

Bertens Tops Kvitova, Advances To Finals In Cincinnati
I also want to say that the tournament wasn't in my favor also putting me on three matches on Stadium 3 . Djokovic would go on to win the next two games and take the first set 7-5.

Gatwick Airport CHAOS: Flight information boards go down creating nightmare for passengers
An IT problem is causing London's Gatwick Airport to adopt an old school approach to relaying information to passengers. Photos posted on social media showed people crowding around the boards to find out the latest on their flights.

Djokovic wins Cincy title to complete Masters matched set
In the first set Djokovic broke Federer in the seventh game to take a 4-3 lead and he subsequently served out. He broke him again to go up 4-3 and served it out.

Afghan Taliban take at least 100 people hostage
He said: "The ceasefire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand". This month at least 150 soldiers and 95 civilians were killed in a five-day battle for control of Ghazni .

Gmail Confidential Mode: How to use it on your smartphone
For the time being, SMS-based passcodes are only available for users in North America, Europe, India, Japan and South America. The feature which was previously available for desktop has now been extended to Android and iOS applications.