A Korean-American man took his sister’s remains out of North Korea in an unprecedented favor granted by the country, Voice of America reported Thursday.
North Korea on Sunday allowed an 80-year-old Korean-American doctor named Pak Moon-jae to take his older sister’s remains from Pyongyang to the U.S.
The two siblings were reunited in 1995 for the first time in 44 years, after the production team of a PBS documentary on North Korea informed the younger Pak that his sister was alive.
Until then, each of the estranged siblings had assumed that the other was dead after the older Pak was dragged away by the North Korean People’s Army during the Korean War.
The younger Pak, who had been making medical volunteering trips to the country for over 10 years, expressed to North Korean officials the desire to bury his sister’s remains in Chicago early this year.
The siblings met for four days each year during the younger Pak‘s annual medical trips, until the older Pak passed away at age 80, four months before her younger brother’s visit in 2012.
With the consent of his sister’s family in North Korea, Pak took about half of the ashes back to the U.S.
“I am thankful that we can reunite as a family, even in the form of ashes,” Pak said in an interview with VOA Thursday.
By Suh Ye-seul (firstname.lastname@example.org)