South Koreans meet relatives in North after decades apart

Some of the South Koreans were in wheelchairs or had to be supported by accompanying family members when they boarded the buses with bags of gifts prepared for their long-lost families in the North. After the war broke out, Park was told by a co-worker that his brother refused to flee to the South because he had a family in the North and was a surgeon in the North Korean army. Most of these families were separated during the turmoil of the 1950-53 Korean War.

Hostilities ceased with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two Koreas technically still at war and the peninsula split by the impenetrable Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), with all direct civilian exchanges - even mundane family news - banned.

The emotional reunions will take place over three days but relatives will only be given 11 hours to catch up on decades of lost time.

According to pool reports, the event began with a popular North Korean song "Nice to meet you" - also well known in the South - blaring out from speakers. While South Korea uses a computerized lottery to pick participants for the reunions, North Korea is believed to choose based on loyalty to its authoritarian leadership.

Many of the North Korean women wore traditional dresses, known as hanbok in South Korea and joseon-ot in the North, and all wore the ubiquitous pins commemorating North Korea's founder Kim Il-sung or his son and successor Kim Jong-il, while the Southerners wore their best suits.

"When I fled home in the war.", Han said, faltering as she choked with emotion and left her sentence incomplete.

With time taking its toll, such parent-child reunions have become rare.

Almost 20,000 people have participated in 20 rounds of face-to-face reunions held between the countries since 2000.

More news: Djokovic beats Federer to complete Masters sweep
More news: Man Utd and Chelsea circle as Ramsey talks stall
More news: Green Party MP heads for maternity ward on a bicycle

80-year old Kim Gwang-ho met his younger brother, 78-years-old, and his wife. They showed photos of family members who were not able to attend the meetings.

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

Moon Hyun-sook, 91, said she put together clothes, cosmetics and medicine for her two sisters, younger than she is by 12 and 26 years.

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.

During the three years since the reunions were last held, the North tested three nuclear weapons and multiple missiles that demonstrated they potentially could strike the continental United States.

The series of brief meetings reflect a thaw in diplomatic tensions between the governments of the two Koreas.

But while Kim and US President Donald Trump held a landmark summit in Singapore in June, Pyongyang has yet to make clear what concessions it is willing to make on its nuclear arsenal, while Washington is looking to maintain sanctions pressure on it.

Ninety-three families from both sides of the border were initially scheduled for a three-day gathering from Monday, but four South Korean members cancelled their trip to the North at the last minute due to health conditions, the Red Cross said.

Related Articles

  • Nun throws flawless pitch before White Sox game

    The White Sox went on to loss 3-1 and now are a brutal 45-77 on the season. "I said to her, 'Can you play for us?'" he continued. Look out Sister Jean, there's a new sister taking over the sports world.
    Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull abandons greenhouse gas target

    Australian PM Malcolm Turnbull abandons greenhouse gas target

    Mr Abbott deposed Mr Turnbull as leader of the conservative Liberal Party in 2009 over differences in energy policy. "I'm focused on getting energy prices down and I'll leave you to all of the speculation", he told the ABC .

    Arctic lakes speed up permafrost thawing, global warming

    For centuries, a massive store of carbon has been locked underground in the Arctic's permanently frozen soil known as permafrost. This data is then used to confirm the developed models. "Ancient greenhouse gases go out".
  • CDC: Drug Overdose Deaths Surge In NC

    CDC: Drug Overdose Deaths Surge In NC

    Investigators attribute the deaths to the opioids fentanyl and carfentanil - synthetic painkillers far more potent than heroin. The CDC cautions these figures are early estimates based on monthly death records processed by the agency.
    Son's arrival unable to inspire comeback win for South Korea

    Son's arrival unable to inspire comeback win for South Korea

    He's at the Asian Games in Indonesia as one of the three wildcard - or overage players - in the under-23 South Korean squad. South Korea coach Kim Hak-bum admitted he made a tactical blunder by rotating his players too early in the tournament.
    Winx wins record 26th race to overhaul Black Caviar

    Winx wins record 26th race to overhaul Black Caviar

    After putting the race to bed in a matter of strides, Bowman eased Winx down late to pose for the photo in front of a rapturous Randwick crowd.
  • Whiteboards used as Gatwick flight information screens fail

    Whiteboards used as Gatwick flight information screens fail

    The airport, which is 30 miles south of London and Britain's second busiest , said the problem was a result of "an ongoing issue with Vodafone ", its IT provider, and directed passengers to the "temporary flight boards" or listen for announcements.
    Djokovic closing in on incredible record

    Djokovic closing in on incredible record

    Djokovic had to work for more than two and a half hours to overcome Cilic, the 2016 champion in the combined WTA and ATP event. Momentum was wrestled back by Djokovic in the final set, the Serbian securing a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 victory.
    Afghanistan announces Muslim Eid holiday ceasefire with Taliban

    Afghanistan announces Muslim Eid holiday ceasefire with Taliban

    He said: "The ceasefire should be observed from both sides, and its continuation and duration also depend on the Taliban's stand". The battle for Ghazni killed at least 100 members of the Afghan security forces and 35 civilians, according to Afghan officials.
  • Musk defends relentless work hours

    Musk defends relentless work hours

    Huffington's attempted intervention comes at a time when she's been campaigning in support of the benefits of sleep. Musk sparked controversy by tweeting on August 7 that he had "funding secured" to take Tesla private.
    Bridge search ends as family's bodies found

    Bridge search ends as family's bodies found

    Bagnasco told the mourners that Pope Francis had called him Friday evening to express his closeness to all those suffering. Mourners also included the city's two football squads, Genoa and Sampdoria, who have postponed their weekend matches.
    Shots fired at US embassy in Ankara, no casualties

    Shots fired at US embassy in Ankara, no casualties

    The embassy was set to be closed this week for a public holiday to mark the Islamic Eid Al Adha festival. Police were dispatched after the shooting about 5am and were searching for the vehicle .