North, South Korea hold last day of family reunions

2015-10-22 19:51
North Korean Oh In Se, 83, and his South Korean wife Lee Soon-kyu, 85, say what probably will be their final farewells. (Choi Dong-joon/Newsis, via AP)

North Korean Oh In Se, 83, and his South Korean wife Lee Soon-kyu, 85, say what probably will be their final farewells. (Choi Dong-joon/Newsis, via AP)

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Seoul - Korean families divided by war over six decades ago were separated again on Thursday after three days of brief reunions organised by North and South Korea, a news report said.

South Korean Lee Sun Kyu, 85, had been reunited for a total of 12 hours with her former husband Oh In Se. "Stay healthy! Live long!," she told him as he returned to the North, Yonhap News Agency reported.

About 390 people from 96 families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War visited the North Korean resort at Mount Kumgang, on the east of the peninsula, for the meetings.

A second round of reunions is due to take place from October 24 to 26, with 255 South Korean family participants and 188 North Koreans.

The reunions, the first since early last year, were called into doubt earlier this month as tensions flared between the two neighbours.

Pyongyang briefly threatened to cancel the event after South Korean President Park Geun Hye called North Korea's nuclear weapons programme a serious threat to peace in the region.

Most surviving members of divided families are more than 80 years old. Around half of the 129 700 people who first applied to be on the list, have already died, Yonhap said.

Since 2000, the two Koreas have held 20 rounds of family reunion events, Yonhap said.

The families have pushed for the two governments to schedule regular cross-border reunions and allow letter exchanges, Korean broadcaster KBS reported.

Read more on:    south korea  |  north korea

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