Many elderly South Koreans have crossed the border into North Korea to see heir relatives, BBC said. Most of them haven’t seen each other for over 65 years since the Korean War began.
The meetings with relatives from South and North Koreas are really touching and emotional moment, they haven’t seen since they were separated by the Korean War. More than 50,000 Koreans applied for such a meeting to see their loved ones one last time but just 93 people selected. Most of the families were separated since the 1950s and all the reunions were highly emotional events.
While 95 selected elderly South Koreans and their family members being transported to a resort in North Korea for the reunion, another 300 Koreans are looking forward to doing the same later in the week from Friday to Sunday. The selected citizens of South Korea have come by bus over the heavily guarded border to the Mount Kumgang tourist resort.
According to the protocol of such a family meeting, they will spend only 11 hours for three days in North Korea. A few hours per day, moreover, their visit will be heavily supervised by the local guards. Many are bringing gifts like clothes, medicine and food for their relatives in the much poorer NK relatives.
“I’ve prepared for him some household medicine including digester and headache pills, nutritional supplements as well as some daily necessaries,”
Lee Soo-nam, 76, who was due to meet his older brother whom she hasn’t seen for half a century.
Family meetings of South and North Koreans take place since 2000
Since 2000, about 20,000 people from both Koreas have participated in 20 rounds of face-to-face reunions. South Koreans leave for North Korea to take part in the reunions during the recent week-long event at the Diamond Resort in North Korea.
The family meetings come as the rival Koreas boost reconciliation efforts amid a diplomatic push to resolve a standoff over North Korea’s drive for a nuclear weapons program that can reliably target the continental United States. Often the people don’t even know if their relatives are alive or not.
More than 75,000 of the 132,000 South Koreans who have applied to participate in reunions have died. North Korea is believed to choose who takes part based on loyalty to its leadership while South Korea uses a computerised lottery to pick participants.