NATIONAL

Second round of inter-Korean family reunions begins at Mount Kumgang

By Yonhap
  • Published : Aug 24, 2018 - 19:58
  • Updated : Aug 24, 2018 - 19:59
Tears streamed down the wrinkled face of Cho Jeong-gi as the 67-year-old South Korean met the North Korean father he has never seen.

“I am your first son, first son,” Cho said in a trembling voice. “I had no idea I would be able to meet you.”

Cho was among hundreds of people from the two Koreas who were reunited with their families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War at the North’s eastern resort of Mount Kumgang on Friday.

His 88-year-old father, Deok-yong, moved to the North alone during the war, before Jeong-gi was born. His mother passed away earlier this year before she could be notified of the event.

Two sisters separated by the Korean War meet one another at the second round of inter-Korean family reunion event at Mount Kumgang resort on Friday. (Yonhap)

A total of 326 South Koreans from 81 families met their long-lost kin during the second round of the meeting.

As with the first round of reunions that ended on Wednesday, this one was filled with tears, sigh and screams of joy in yet another emotional reminder of the tragic division of the peninsula.

“I thank you for being alive,” Woo Gi-ju, 79, from the South, said fighting back tears as she met her 86-year-old sister, Gi-bok, who was in a wheelchair. The elder Woo had left her after saying she would go to seek an education.

Kim Jeong-sook, 81, met her 85-year-old North Korean sister, Jeong-ok, who lost contact with her family after she went to the North’s eastern port city of Cheongjin to land a job.

“We came here along the rusty railway that you moved along (to the North),” Kim Jeong-sook said. “I didn’t know your face. ... How were you able to remember my name?”

The reunions will last until Sunday and the participants will meet on six occasions for 12 hours in total.

The reunions were held in line with the April inter-Korean summit agreement to “endeavor to swiftly resolve the humanitarian issues that resulted from the division of the nation” and proceed with reunion programs on the occasion of the Aug. 15 Liberation Day.

There are about 57,000 South Koreans wishing to reunite with their family members in the North. Before this week’s reunions, the two Koreas had held 20 rounds of such meetings since their first inter-Korean summit in 2000. (Yonhap)